7 Tips to Make your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

7 Tips to Make your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 71% of people keep their New Years Resolutions past 2 weeks, 64% past 1 month and 46% past 6 months.

So why is it so hard to make changes?

Because most of our actions are driven by subconscious drives!   95% of our brain processes are subconscious, and so if we consciously want to lose weight, our subconscious might be telling us that losing weight isn’t safe.

Then how do some people succeed?

It has to do with our self-efficacy, that is, our belief in our power to achieve our goal.   One important way to increase self-efficacy is to be educated about effective change.   Below are a few important tips to keep in mind if you want your New Years Resolutions to stick:

  1. Be specific
    The first tenant of S.M.A.R.T. goals is that they are specific.   The goal should define Who is involved, What you want to accomplish, Where, by When, Which requirements and constraints and Why.  It is not enough to say I want to lose weight. It would be better to say in order to lose weight, I’m man doing pushupsgoing to pledge to do muscle conditioning classes at the Slim Gym 3 times a week, on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays.

2.    Be persistent.
Unfortunately the idea that it takes only 21 days or 30 days to change a habit is a myth. Phillippa Lally, a health psychologist at University College London tracked 96 people who tried to change various habits. The types of habits varied from simple to difficult, and the average time it took before the new behavior became automatic was 66 days. The variability however, which depended on the habit, the person and their circumstances, ranged between 18-254 days!

3. Don’t succumb to “false hope syndrome”.
Most people who try to make a change decide that they are going to make that change, and that will be the end of it.   But if we don’t expect to fail, and then if we get disappointed when we have a set back, we can succumb to “false hope syndrome.   The truth is we need to know that at some point, we will probably self-sabotage.   The key is to learn from our mistakes, figure out the factors that contributed to our self-sabotage, and resolve to create a better environment and path for success.

 4.  Keep your eye on the prize.
A social psychologist Emily Balcetis showed in her TED talk that people who kept their eye on the goal found it easier to achieve. This morning, I was feeling more sluggish than usual on my morning run. Then I decided to experiment with this strategy by imagining being done and back to my starting point. I noticed that I actually picked up my pace and pushed myself harder!

5.  Take baby steps
If the goal you want to achieve feels insurmountable, than break it down to something that feels achievable.   For example if you want to have better eating habits, instead of changing everything at once, change one thing at a time. Maybe you might decide to eat less sugar. In order to do this, what food will you reduce or eliminate?   Once one goal is achieved and becomes easy, add another.

6. Be mindful of your environment
If certain environments trigger undesirable behaviors, it would be best to remove yourself from that environment until the change becomes ingrained. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, don’t go to McDonalds if a cheeseburger is one of your vices.

7.  Be mindful of the influence of your friends

3 friends ice creamA study in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reviewed 15 studies, and found that people’s food choices are influenced by those who eat with them.   We tend to choose food types based on their perception of the social norm. If your friends are not interested in changing their habits, it might be a good idea to seek out friends with healthier habits!

Change can be really hard.  You must be persistent, and utilize the conscious part of your brain (just 5% of your brain processes) to overcome a powerful subconscious resistance.   If its something you’ve been struggling with for years, it can take an extraordinary amount of willpower.   And we are limited in how much willpower we have.

A much easier way to change habits is to release subconscious barriers.   I’ve had clients (human and kitty) who’ve have been chronically dehydrated for years, change their water drinking habits.   I helped clients become motivated to exercise, after years of not being able to.   And I’ve helped clients release the addictions to fast and surgery foods and they’ve seen quick results in their dietary choices with little effort on their part.  How long did it take for these changes to take place?   Usually after just one session, sometimes two.   So why not make life easy so that you can use your limited willpower to achieve other goals?

Are you ready to substantially boost your path to success?  Listen to my interview on Releasing Subconscious Barriers, and call me at 1855 ENERJOY to schedule your free 1 hr consultation!

“Success is Target” courtesy of pakron  at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Male Doing Pushups” courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Three Friends Raises Ice Cream Cup” courtesy of stockimages  at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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