Many of us make resolutions every New Year. All with good intentions of keeping them, right? Here’s an article with some good advice on how to keep your resolution…and also some advice on how to make one that you can keep.
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Key to keeping New Year resolutions revealed by psychologist
The key to keeping a New Year resolution may be to break your goal into small steps and not to dwell on the consequences of not achieving your goal, a psychologist has claimed.
Published: 7:30AM GMT 28 Dec 2009 – Telegraph.co.uk
Less than a quarter of Britons will achieve their New Year resolutions in 2010 because they go about it the wrong way, according to Professor Richard Wiseman.
He studied 700 volunteers who made a wide range of New Year resolutions, including quitting smoking, losing weight, starting a relationship or gaining a qualification.
Just 22 per cent of participants managed to meet their goals or described their progress as ”very successful”.
The reason so many failed is that they took the wrong approach – and were led astray by self-help books, according to Prof Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire.
By comparing the techniques of successful and unsuccessful resolution makers, he came up with a list of tips for staying the course when making changes in one’s life.
People who failed tended to dwell on the ”bad things” that would happen if they did not achieve their goal, said the professor.
They were likely to remove temptation from their surroundings, adopt role models, fantasise about being successful, and rely on will power.
”Many of these ideas are frequently recommended by self-help experts but our results suggest that they simply don’t work”, said Prof Wiseman. ”Because of the widespread nature of this advice, millions of people will fail to achieve their aims”.
Successful participants, on the other hand, broke their goals into small steps, rewarding themselves when each stage was passed.
They also told friends about what they were trying to achieve, reminded themselves of the benefits of obtaining their goal, and charted their progress.
”Many of the most successful techniques involve making a plan and helping yourself stick to it,” said Prof Wiseman. ”Those carrying out all five techniques were around 20% more successful than others.
”Failing to achieve your ambitions is often psychologically harmful because it can rob people of a sense of self-control. I hope that this new research will help people change their lives in 2010.”
:: Prof Wiseman’s 10 secrets of success when making New Year resolutions:
1) Make only one resolution; your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.
2) Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to think about your resolution and instead devote some time a few days before to reflect upon what you really want to achieve.
3) Avoid previous resolutions; deciding to re-visit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.
4) Don’t run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life.
5) Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable, and time-based.
6) Tell your friends and family about your goals, thus increasing the fear of failure and eliciting support.
7) Regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals by creating a checklist of how life would be better once you obtain your aim.
Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, thus maintaining motivation and a sense of progress.
9) Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a hand-written journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.
10) Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary set-back rather than a reason to give up altogether.