How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

For many, the New Year means creating new resolutions; however, most lose motivation a few weeks into the year. There are many ways to make resolutions more attainable. With a little time and effort, resolutions can be achieved.

The most important indicator of whether or not someone will keep up with their New Year’s resolutions is their plan. If there is no plan at all, it is much more challenging to maintain resolutions. According to a study by Gail Matthews, Psychology professor at Dominican University, those who wrote down their goals saw a significantly higher rate of achievement than those who did not. This study also found that those held accountable for their goals, by means of sharing their goals with someone and updating them on their progress, saw an even greater rate of achievement. So, write down your resolutions with an explanation of how you will achieve them, and when you have a concise, reasonable list, tell a friend all about it.

Another very important part of maintaining resolutions has to do with habits. Forming new habits can be difficult, especially when it means ending old ones. According to Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” habits form in a loop beginning with a cue, which triggers a routine and ends with a reward. Duhigg says that in order to end a habit we must actively chose to change the routine triggered by the cue. To start new habits, establish healthy cues and offer yourself rewards you actually enjoy. For example, if you were interested in reading more, you may consider putting a book by the side of your bed, which would act as a cue. After each time you finished reading you may reward yourself with an episode of your favorite show. This may seem counterproductive, but it reinforces the good behavior until the action begins to present its own rewards. This same method can be applied to almost any habit, and tends to see greater success.

New Year’s resolutions can be elusive, but they are not unachievable. They may be time consuming and strenuous; however, when accomplished, they’re well worth the effort. Remember, write your resolutions down, tell a friend and take time to change bad habits.