Barack Obama once said, “I’m not sure I believe in New Year’s resolutions – typically people break them.” The statistics back him up. Studies have shown that only 8% of people will stick to a resolution throughout the whole year. Maybe you are one of the people who have already made and broken resolutions in the past. If you are, don’t worry. There are many reasons why people fail to keep resolutions, and if you have made any new ones this year, we are here with our five top tips on how to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, and not see them fall by the wayside again.
1. Only make resolutions you care about (and don’t make too many)
Don’t be too ambitious setting yourself a large number of resolutions. Just pick one or two that you really care about. With each resolution, ask yourself, if no one else was watching you or nagging you, would you still be motivated to stick to this resolution? If the answer if no, then this might be a resolution to re-think.
2. Set yourself specific and measurable goals
If your resolution is too woolly or general, then it is much harder to stick to. Try to set yourself a specific (and realistic goal) and include time frames and benchmarks. So, instead of just ‘exercise more’ – set yourself a daily task, like cycling for half an hour a day. Also, if possible, try to find a sporting event you might wish to enter so you have something to work towards.
3. Frame your resolutions positively
If you set yourself a goal, it is easier to stick to if you frame it in positive language. If your resolution is to eat less junk food, try not to think about the food you want to avoid, but instead about the way you will nourish your body with healthy food instead. Don’t think about denying yourself a biscuit, but instead, imagine rewarding yourself with something fresh and nutritious, like a sliced-up mango.
4. Give yourself an alternative treat
Have you ever watched a parent distract a toddler from a tantrum with a shiny toy? Well, your brain works in a similar way. If you have a routine than involves a bad habit you wish to change, it helps to have an alternative ready to trick your brain into not missing what you want to give up. So, if your goal is to drink less alcohol, have a substitute non-alcoholic drink or treat handy to enjoy when you would normally have a beer or glass of wine.
5. Keep it up for at least a month
Studies have shown that 75% of people will give up their resolution within the first 30 days. Humans are creatures of habit however, so if you can make it through the first month, you are far more likely to stick to your resolution long term, because it will become part of your routine, so the brain and body will anticipate it. So firstly – make yourself a promise that whatever your resolution is, you will stick to it faithfully for at least 30 days.