You’ve made a new year’s resolution but how do you make it stick? Fifty percent of people vow to do more exercise, and that resolution is followed by losing weight, saving money, improving your diet, and pursuing a career ambition. But a study by Scranton University found that only 8 percent of people keep their new year’s resolutions.
New year’s resolutions: they’re easy to make but hard to keep. Studies show 30 percent of people give up on their goals by mid-January.
So how do you make resolutions you can keep? Jennifer Blacksmith, Ph.D., HSPP, NCSP, Behavioral Health Director at Northeast Missouri Health Council has these 4 tips to help you stick to your resolution.
1. Make sure the goals are realistic and achievable. Think "SMART" goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound).
2. Share resolutions with at least one person. This holds us accountable and will increase our chances of sticking with them.
3. Reward yourself with progress. Positive reinforcement increases behavior.
4. Imagine yourself reaching your end goal and how your life will be different as this type of thinking helps rewire the brain and improves outcomes.
“Neurologists working on the science of goal-setting have proved that the brain cannot distinguish between reality and imagined reality. So, when we give ourselves a picture of the goal we want to achieve, the mind starts believing it to be real,” said Blacksmith.
Blacksmith says if the goal seems too distant or is too future-oriented, the Medial Prefrontal Cortex activation lowers significantly which is why we may lose interest in sticking to the goals or lose the vision of what might be the best ways to achieve them.
As the famous saying goes, “Begin with the end in mind.” The most crucial aspect of goal-setting is to build an effective plan.
If we set goals by our character strengths, core values, level of motivation, and pledge on sticking to the plan until we reach the aim, there is no way that we won’t get there.