Every New Year’s resolutions are made, and those resolutions are promptly broken within the week.
Maybe this year you decided to lose ten pounds, work more, quit smoking, work less, manage money better, or perhaps change the way to behave in the office.
All great goals.
However, the problem according to Timothy Pychyl (Psychology Professor at Carleton University), is that people try to reinvent and motivate themselves during the new year. This results in grandiose goals, even though they are not really ready to change their habits.
Most people also make classic mistakes, when setting and trying to achieve their goals .
And therefore they fail.
Rather than follow the yearly pattern of falling short of your goals, or not even attempting them at all, here are some ways to keep your resolutions this year.
Keep your ambitions achievable
The excitement of a fresh start might tempt you to make resolutions that are outside the realms of reality for you to achieve.
The cycle of setting too high of expectations, not meeting them, then trying to change again is called “false hope syndrome” and was coined by psychologist Peter Herman (University of Toronto).
He found that most people are over ambitious/optimistic with their resolutions, and want to make a big new start.
Instead, it’s better to keep your resolutions realistic by setting goals that are easier for you to achieve, rather than a big goal that you expect to happen all at once.
For example, start with a goal of exercising for any amount of time three days a week, instead of a more rigid goal of an hour everyday.
Or, cut back on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day instead of trying to quit cold turkey.
Focus on the positive
When it comes to making resolutions, it all of a sudden becomes an exercise in defining everything we don’t like about ourselves like our weight, finances, or appearance.
According to Amy Cuddy (Professor at HBS), instead of reinforcing these negative self-perceptions, set goals on positive things that you’ll enjoy.
Attempt to learn a new skill or vow to experiment with new/healthy recipes in the kitchen, just get the bests appliances from Zozanga, and start cooking and creating..
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Try as we might to change, we have to remember that change is hard.
Clinical psychologist Joseph Luciani, says that “all change entails emotional friction,” and that friction causes us stress, which makes us more likely to break our resolutions.
Give yourself a bit of a break if you’re having trouble meeting your goals and keep pushing towards achieving them.
Avoid outcome-based resolutions
Another mistake is that of making resolutions based on an outcome, rather than focusing on the process to get to that outcome.
We end up feeling like failures when we don’t reach the result/outcome quickly or if we have a small lapse. For example, if you decide to quit smoking, you fail even if you have one cigarette.
So a change in focus is needed. It’s better to pay attention to the process, break it down into smaller parts and have those as your goals.
For example, if you’re into yoga and want to be able to do a difficult pose, you might become disheartened if you can’t do the pose by the end of the month.
Instead, resolve to stretch and work on practising different elements involved in the pose each day, in order to gradually work your way up to entire difficult pose.
You can keep changing the process goals along the way, as you make progress and get better.
It also important that you make the process as enjoyable as possible.