Did you make a New Year’s resolution? To lose weight? To exercise more? To drink less alcohol?
Well, the fact that you declared your resolution will actually help you keep it. Don’t despair if a month later you’ve seen little progress.
“Think of resolutions as marathons, not 100-yard dashes. Prepare for the long haul of a changed lifestyle,” says Dr. John Norcross (PhD), a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, Ohio, and coauthor of the book Changing for Good.
According to Dr. Norcross’ research, about half of us make New Year’s resolutions. Most resolutions are about self-improvement changes such as losing weight, starting to exercise, quitting smoking or drinking less alcohol.
Believe it or not, studies show that 40 per cent to 46 per cent of New Year’s resolvers will be successful at six months.
In fact, if you make a New Year’s resolution, you are 10 times more likely to change compared to those who have the same goals and motivation to change, but didn’t use the annual changeover to make a resolution.
It’s OK to fall of the rails once in a while.
“Most successful resolvers slip in January,” says Dr. Norcross. “Don’t let one missed exercise class end the exercise program.”
One research study found that 71 per cent of successful resolvers said their first slip had actually strengthened their efforts.
He suggests preparing for slumps in February by creating a “slip plan” to deal with those situations.
Slips can be associated with negative emotions and social pressures.
Try leaving the pressure situation or distracting yourself by calling a friend or going for a power walk.
“Remember that meaningful change takes time. It takes three to six months before a change becomes routine.”