It’s not exactly breaking news that most people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions; however, the findings of a new study reveal the reasons why most resolutions are unsuccessful.
Richard Wiseman, Ph.D, a psychology professor at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, surveyed 700 people about their strategies for keeping their New Year’s resolutions. There were a variety of resolutions that included many of the classics, such as losing weight and quitting smoking. 78 percent of those surveyed failed to achieve their goal.
The Guardian reports that those who did not accomplish their goals were more likely to dwell on the negative consequences that would result from not keeping their resolution. They also used such strategies as relying only on will power or fantasizing about being successful.
Wiseman tells The Guardian:
“Many of these ideas are frequently recommended by self-help experts but our results suggest that they simply don’t work…If you are trying to lose weight, it’s not enough to stick a picture of a model on your fridge or fantasize about being slimmer.”
According to The UK Telegraph, the 22 percent who succeeded in accomplishing their New Year’s resolution broke it down into smaller steps and rewarded themselves for each step successfully achieved. They also employed other strategies, such as continually monitoring their progress and telling friends about the resolution.
Wiseman has ten suggestions to help you keep your New Year’s resolution. Here are the top 4:
1) Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable, and time-based.
2) Tell your friends and family about your goals, thus increasing the fear of failure and eliciting support.
3) 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.
4) 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.
To see the rest of Wiseman’s list, visit his blog here.