The new year resolution. A time-honored exercise in futility. However, things can actually be different this year … if you follow the advice of one psychologist.
As the old denial goes, This is the year. The one where we finally kick the habit, get in shape, and be the people we always wanted to be/knew we were, etc. So, fell great expanses of forests we do, all in an effort to jot down our edited, final lists of resolutions. Huzzah! we trumpet, knowing that all that’s left to do is do those things.
However, January is a particularly cruel month, especially when it morphs into February, as we realize that we’re not anywhere near achieving our goals. But, there are new ways to bring life to the ancient tropes of disappointment. According to British psychologist Richard Wiseman and the 3,000 people he polled, only 12% manage to approach the new me the new year promised them.
However, Wiseman is more than just a bean-counting pedant, as he also has a bevy of tips regarding making better resolutions.
- If possible, make only one resolution – changing a lot of things at once is more difficult.
- Think about your resolutions in advance, and spend some time reflecting on them.
- Don’t re-visit past failures, but focus on new resolutions instead.
- Focus on what you really want – don’t just go with what’s trendy.
- Break your goal into manageable, concrete steps with specific deadlines.
- Go public – tell your friends, family, social networks about your goals, which will increase your fear of failure and also garner support.
- Create a checklist focusing on how much better your life will be once you’ve achieved your goals.
- Whenever you make progress on the steps towards your goal, give yourself a small reward.
- Document your journey – charts, spreadsheets, journals, and other means of tracking your progress will keep it concrete.
- Don’t beat yourself up and quit if you sometimes revert to old habits – treat it as a temporary setback.