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New Research Reveals 8 Secrets That Will Make Your New Year's Resolutions Succeed Thumbnail

New Research Reveals 8 Secrets That Will Make Your New Year's Resolutions Succeed

Goals Lifestyle

We came upon this blog post by Eric Barker | Barking Up The Wrong Tree and thought it worth sharing with you.

While no one makes a New Year's Resolution intending for it to fail, research from psychology professor Richard Wiseman found that 88% of people do not achieve their resolutions. Nonetheless, this does not mean that resolutions are doomed to be broken; rather, implementing a series of research-backed best practices can improve the odds that a resolution will succeed.

The first key to following through on resolutions (New Year's or otherwise) is to focus on one thing at a time. For example, it's easier to focus just on walking more steps each day than it is to try to walk more, eat better, and talk to one's parents more often. The next step is to focus on the obstacles that one will face pursuing the resolution (e.g., finding time in the week to get it done) rather than fantasizing about the end results; doing so can help one create a specific plan to achieve the goal rather than think in generalities (i.e., committing to eating at least 2 vegetables at lunch and dinner each day is likely to be more effective than just committing to eating vegetables more often). Notably, each step of the plan does not have to be a major challenge; rather, engaging in what Stanford researcher BJ Fogg calls the "Minimum Viable Effort", or doing small tasks consistently, can increase the chances that the resolution will become an ingrained habit.

Many individuals make a New Year's Resolution to break a 'bad' habit (e.g., wanting to spend less time mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds). In the latter case, one way to break these habits is to replace them instead of trying to eliminate them. For instance, someone who scrolls through social media when they're bored could replace the habit by instead reading a book on their phone when boredom strikes. Relatedly, individuals can manipulate the context of their habit to discourage themselves from doing it. In the above case, deleting the relevant social media apps from their phone (thus requiring them to go to the website and log in each time they want to use it) could discourage them from checking them each time they are tempted to do so.

Ultimately, the key point is that while it can be challenging to follow through on a New Year's Resolution for the long haul, leveraging these tactics (and others, such as commitment devices and leveraging friends) can increase the chances of successfully doing so!