It’s been a little less than two months since you proclaimed your New Year’s resolutions. We hope you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor – whether that means a healthier heart, trimmer waistline or less stress in your life.
But what if you’re not? What if you started out thinking it was a good idea to swap Netflix binge-watching for bike riding, but somewhere along the way you found it impossibly hard and
baked a chocolate cake for a party of one lost track of your goals?
At Health Net, we’re here to say don’t give up! Everyone knows New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep – in fact, 80 percent of them don’t get realized. Clinical psychologist, Joseph Luciani, Ph.D., says this happens because people set up their resolutions the wrong way.
We tend to bring the “outside in” when trying to lose weight, for example, and join a gym or purchase a slick new wearable device before having the necessary mindset to handle the stress when it gets difficult. According to Luciani, without the latter, you’re going to have a difficult time sustaining the motivation.
Now that you have a little insight into why your resolution might have derailed, let’s get you back on track.
1. Get some self-discipline. Discipline isn’t innate — it’s like a muscle that you have to exercise. When uncomfortable things come up in your life, recognize them and refrain from the “big bail” tactic. In Luciani’s article titled “Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail,” he says recognizing friction in life and being able to endure it, without escaping, is essential when trying to make a positive change.
2. Put forth a good attitude. This is easier done than said — especially when it comes to something you’ve resisted and failed at over time (like dieting or exercising, for example). But, an optimistic attitude is essential to success when it comes to changing habits. That little voice in your head putting doubts where there should be support must be reckoned with if you want to succeed with your resolution.
3. Set mini goals within the big goal. It’s easier to accomplish personal success through a series of small tasks. This gives your brain the opportunity to be rewarded several times a day for small achievements. Luciani refers to these as “trust-muscle builders” — little tasks that strengthen your ability to believe in yourself.
4. Use already existing habits. Bob Nease, author of The Power of Fifty Bits: The New Science of Turning Good Intentions into Positive Results, says that if you can attach something positive — something you already enjoy doing, for example — to the resolution or habit you’re hoping to acquire, you have a better chance of reaching your goal. This kind of “piggybacking” works when you exercise to music you love, for example.
So there you have it. Think of this as Health Net doing a little Heimlich maneuver on your mind in order to help save your resolutions. We wish you luck in putting those good intentions into action, and achieving success.