Every year begins with the promise of accomplishing something and ends with regrets of the failure to do so. While, it may be easier to wallow in self-pity and keep away from making New Year's resolutions altogether, or make promises to yourself that you are certain you wouldn't be able to keep, why not take the following into consideration?
After rigorous studies on New Year's resolutions, researchers at the University of Scranton have come up with some secret formulae that will help you realise this year's resolutions.
Keep realistic goals
Sure it is exhilarating to achieve a big target, whether it is losing 30 kilos or quitting alcohol. However, it is important to understand is that, while it may seem boring to commit to losing 10 kilos in a year or bringing down alcohol consumption to once a week, they are the ones you are more likely to stick to. Quite obviously, it's a lot easier to incorporate small-level changes than turn your entire lifestyle upside down.
Another tangible risk to failure is that people, who do not meet their goals generally, are likely to never succeed in future attempts. Research shows that they build up a narrative in their head that whatever they want to achieve is impossible.
Be Prepared for the Possibility of Failure
Janet Polivy, a psychologist at the University of Toronto in Mississauga, discovered an interesting effect called "what the hell" effect during a study with a group of dieters.
For the study, Polivy and her colleagues gave dieters varying amounts of milkshakes before serving them a dish of ice cream. The study found that those who had large milkshakes ate even more ice cream. Their attitude was that "my diet is already off the wagon, why not screw up a bit more?" reveals Vox .
Bottom-line of the study is that once you are prepared to accept failures and start over, it would prevent you from completely giving up on your goals.
Maintain Motivation and Commitment
Changing a pattern or lifestyle can be incredibly hard, which is why it is important to build concrete steps towards achieving the goal you have set for yourself.
What we need to stick to our New Year's resolutions is willpower and the brain cells that operate willpower are located in the prefrontal cortex, which is the area right behind your forehead. When you set a New Year's resolution, an enormous amount of willpower is required, sometimes more than you brain cells can handle.
In such cases, all you can do is bring about a balance in your life, by maintaining some old habits and incorporating some new ones, without disturbing the overall balance of your being and committing to the new time table.
Watch this SNL skit "Resolution Revolution" starring Drake, which makes fun of failure to keep New Year's resolutions: