Will you be making a New Year’s Resolution?
Around this time of year ‘New Year, new me’ and other ‘motivational’ posts clog up our social media feeds. The time has come again for us to evaluate the past year, and to wonder what will come in the next. The question is – Will you be making a resolution?
Back in 2013, a study found that the top five most common resolutions made are:
cut down on alcohol
spend less time on social media!
The usual suspects come up time and time again, with people often making the same resolution every few years! What is it about New Year’s eve that brings us to make these lists of things we want to do differently, and why do we find them so hard to stick to?
Social sciences journalist, John Tierney outlines the difficulties of keeping to these January promises:
‘Most people are not going to keep their resolutions all year long. They’ll start out with the best of intentions but the worst of strategies, expecting that they’ll somehow find the willpower to resist temptation after temptation. By the end of January, a third will have broken their resolutions, and by July more than half will have lapsed.’
He puts this down to will power struggles, and exhausting our mental energy. So, rather than setting ourselves up for a fall this year, how do we make a resolution we can really stick to?
The NHS have asked Professor Richard Wiseman, who has conducted studies on the subject, for his top tips on how to achieve your goals. One of his points that we definitely need to take on board is this – Only make ONE resolution!
Professor Wiseman claims:
‘your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.’
It’s always tempting to make a few resolutions, especially if there are a few things you want to change in your life, but the maths says that one strong resolution is much more do-able.
Another important tip from the professor is this:
‘Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up altogether.’
This is key to achieving any challenge you set yourself this year. If you don’t achieve a goal you’ve set yourself, it can seem easier to throw in the towel or to start thinking negatively about yourself. The last thing you want a New Year’s resolution to do is to make you feel like a fail, it’s not a great way to kick off 2016!
We think New Year’s resolutions should be a bit of fun. Try something different this year, like taking a picture of yourself everyday, or learn to do something new!
And if you’re going to tackle a big challenge, like getting fitter or giving up alcohol or smoking, make sure you plan ahead, and don’t get too down if you slip up now and again!