Psychologist Reveals 5 Easy Tricks For Making New Year’s Resolutions That Stick
It’s that time of year again...
The time of year where we tell ourselves that “next year is going to be different.”
So we begin to make New Year’s resolutions, sternly vowing that “This is my year! Nothing is going to get in my way! This time I’m really going to do it!”
And then the New Year (aka “reality”) arrives and...
Well, you probably know the rest of the story.
Only 8% of us are able to actually stick with our resolutions through the end of the new year.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that resolutions really do work. People who make them are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than those who don’t.
If New Year’s resolutions are so effective why is the success rate insanely low?
It’s because most of us go about making our resolutions in the wrong way.
Psychologist Dr. Joe James has revealed 5 suggestions which will dramatically increase your chances of this year really being different.
- Make it something you really want.
Don’t make a resolution that you “should” want or what other people tell you to want. It has to fit with your own values. Make it meaningful, something that you really want to change. Don’t worry about whether you can do it or not. Just find where the fire in your belly lies and follow that path.
- Limit your list to a number you can handle.
Changing old habits is hard and one of the ways people trip themselves up is vowing to make too many changes at once. It’s fine to make 2 or 3 resolutions for the entire year, but tackle them one at a time. Any more than that and you’ll be spreading yourself too thin.
- Start small and be specific.
You don’t have to change all at once but you do have to be specific. Forget the amorphous “exercise more,” in favor of “I’m working out at the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 p.m.”
Ask yourself how realistic it is that you’ll be able to keep that schedule. If it feels like too much right now, maybe only go twice a week or substitute a walk for the gym. Most of us don’t change on a dime, but gradually over time (baby steps).
- Watch the story you tell yourself.
Change is hard for most of us and we like to remind ourselves of just how much we’re suffering over and over again as we struggle to change. If you tell yourself something is hard, its going to be hard!
Don’t lie and try to convince yourself that it’s easy because you’re not going to believe it. Instead tell yourself something that puts the change in a new light. For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking instead of telling yourself that the cravings are misery (which they are!) tell yourself that they are the signs of your body detoxing and getting healthy and that the more you craved the healthier you are becoming. Quitting smoking still won’t be a picnic but it will feel a lot easier and a much more pleasant experience than constantly reminding yourself of how you’re suffering.
It also helps to have a vision of how you’re going to feel once you’ve made the change and remind yourself of that over and over again. The more you can over- ride your thoughts of how miserable and hard making a change is with how great you’re already starting to feel about the change the easier it will be. Note the word “easier” - you’re still going to struggle. A realistic goal is to balance out the struggle with positive visions.
- It’s not a failure if you relapse!
This is probably the most common way we sabotage ourselves. Some people can change a habit overnight on the first try. Most can’t.
For most of us change is a gradual process. In fact, there is research which suggests that, on average, it takes most people 7 attempts at changing a behavior for it to really stick.
The problem is that when most of us relapse (miss the gym for a week, start smoking, eat too much, etc...) we instantly tell ourselves “see, I can’t do it”. It’s not a failure, it’s normal!
The trick is to recognize it for what it is and just pick up where you left off. Once you’ve had a slip it can feel hard to build momentum again but with a little diligence you can get right back where you left off. This is true whether you had one slip or you let things slide for months. Think of it as something that statistically just brought you one step closer to success rather than a fait accompli that you’re doomed.
For more information please call 301-657-1144 or go to http://www.DrJoeJames.com
- Contact Information
- Dr. Joe James
- Joseph W. James, Ph.D., P.C.
- (1) (301) 657-1144
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