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New Year's Resolutions: Should we and if so, HOW?

I have never been a fan of the New Year's Resolution (NYR). I've always believed that if something is important enough, you don't need to wait for the new year to start implementing change. However, if starting fresh with the new year helps you make changes, then run with it. Let's dive into the science and give you the best chance to make a change!

Often a NYR is a goal we have been reaching towards for a long time but haven't been able to attain, such as quitting smoking, saving money, losing weight, or eating healthier. With approximately 80% of all NYR left to the waste side by mid-January, is there any point?

So, why can't you stick to it? We all know these habits we are trying to change negatively impact us but we don't change. There are many reasons from our emotional state, our genetics, and our current lifestyle. Stress and anxiety are one of the most common reasons we can't make positive change as it, influences our willpower.

So, that all said, what would be the 3 most important things to keep in mind when implementing change, whether it's for New Year or not?

  1. Plan for Success: It has been shown that more planning to accomplish your goals will give you the best chance of success. This includes having small achievable goals set, with reasonable time frames for your current situation. Those who employed apps for organisation tracked their progress and could review the results displayed the highest rates of change. A key aspect that was helpful was to use of an active approach system rather than an avoidance system. Meaning, actively making change (plan) rather than just avoiding a habit (no plan). Having a plan was also shown to be beneficial with addictive behaviors when aiming to assist with abstinence.

  2. Develop and Choose Support: Ensure you have excellent and productive support. If you need to invest in an app, a professional or tools, etc., do it. These things provide you with the ability to stick to your plan and attain your goals, esp if you make it past the 6-month mark. Emotional support through at least one person was key to success. This foundational aspect allows you to accept your human self with all the faults and joys that brings.

  3. Be kind to yourself: Change often never occurs straightforwardly. Stress and negative emotions are almost always a cause or excuse for us to fall off the wagon and stay there. Falling is ok, we all do. But be kind, get up and keep going. Additionally, when using the question approach, "Will you exercise?", answering positively influenced overall positive changes. It worked best without time frames and gives you ample opportunity to utilise constructive self-talk. As long as the overall change is a positive overall linear trend, you are doing well and the best you can.

OVERALL TAKE AWAY: Small incremental change is what makes a successful New Year's Resolution. Implement a well thought out plan with support systems in place to nurture you when you might fall. But mostly, be kind to yourself. There is always another moment to be our best selves, even if we can't see that we are there yet.

If you need help achieving New Year's Resolutions, make an appointment to ensure you have the right support & guidance to achieve your goals.

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