How many New Year resolutions have you made? How many have you achieved? And how many were failures? Ever wondered how some gleefully tick off their resolutions list year after year? Well, here are the secrets to keeping your New Year resolutions.
Do It Together
Experts say we are likely to keep our resolutions if we somehow involve other people in them. For example, it might mean not just keeping fit, but signing up to a gym membership with a friend.
Plus, the effect could be compounded if there is an investment of time or money involved beforehand.
That’s because once we feel another person has sacrificed their time and money in a shared enterprise, we are more motivated to honour it.
Another reason is that humans are social creatures, and involving others is like a form of teamwork, that motivates, challenges and inspires us to do our part to achieve a shared goal.
So, instead of doing it alone again this year, gather a bunch of friends and commit to the same goal, together.
Accountability also pushes people forward, they say.
This means not just sticky-notes on your bathrooms filled with “I will lose weight this year”, but where, how, when, and by how much.
So your New Year resolution could look something like this.
‘I will lose at least 1kg by Feburary, and another 2kg by mid-year, through daily jogs after work’.
Prof Neil Levy at the University of Oxford recommended also tying our intentions to specific cues, or a practice he calls ‘implementation intentions’.
For example, if you’re set on learning a language, the first step would be to invest in a language podcast that you can listen to on the way to and from work.
Next, you could emphasise your efforts by putting a sticky note where you’re most likely to begin your resolutions.
If it’s to master a language, you would place that reminder on your earphones or the radio of your car, to remind you to turn on your podcast.
In short, you aren’t just making an intention but also laying out steps to achieve it.
Setting New Year resolutions is also about adding that much-needed element of realism.
In other words, know yourself, and more importantly, give yourself a break.
That means, if you’ve had an extremely long day at work and just want to kick back and relax at home, then do so!
It’s pointless to force yourself to ‘Go to the gym everyday’, because your actions might just back-fire.
Experts say that we must recognise and acknowledge that exceptional circumstances can influence our ability or willpower to achieving our New Year resolution on a Monday, but that may change on a Tuesday.
That is that, life happens, and just go with the flow.
So even as you keep your resolution in mind, remember to keep yourself in mind too.