There’s actually a science to keeping New Year’s resolutions, study suggests

A new study has revealed that resolution-makers are more than 10 times as successful in changing their behaviour as people who want to change but don’t make formal resolutions.

Here we go again at the start of a new calendar. We have successfully turned the page on the grim year defined by the pandemic. It is therefore that 2021 is special. But with all the excitement, let’s take a moment to recall that what comes with a New Year? Well, a new year is basically defined as that time of the year when people make their new resolutions which of course, are much easier to make than to keep.

The start of a new year is the perfect time when people embark on a new beginning and looks at the whole year with a gleam of hope. Every year, people all over the world make New Year resolutions, which are promises to themselves to do or not do something in order to accomplish a personal goal or break a habit. But let me put this out straight that New Year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to keep. 

Raise your hand, if you have made a New Year’s resolution and are feeling to stay committed to it this year, new research has surprisingly offered the results that could help you reach your goals. The new study has revealed that resolution-makers are more than 10 times as successful in changing their behaviour as people who want to change but don’t make formal resolutions.

We often very passionately make and keep New Year’s Resolutions each year, but by the time February rolls around, it has been observed that around 80 percent of the people have failed to stick to their resolutions. Most resolution-makers fail, and relatively quickly. By February, nearly half of people’s resolutions go out the window. Only 20 percent of the people keep their resolutions at least two years after making them.

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However, New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep, the new study revealed the science behind how to avoid the typical drop-off and design a New Year’s resolution so that you can actually stick to your decision. According to the largest study on New Year’s resolutions to date, it is believed that people who create resolutions that add behaviours rather than erase them are more likely to maintain their resolutions for a year. It is basically a difference between how you phrase your resolution: “I will quit or avoid” to “I will start to”.

The study suggested that nearly 60 percent of those who embraced what the researchers call an “approach goal” succeeded, compared to 47 percent of those who had “avoidance goals.”

The new year often feels like a fresh start and a great opportunity to change bad habits and establish a better life that will help you grow psychologically, emotionally, socially, physically, or intellectually. But the obvious question here arises that why do millions of people make resolutions at the beginning of every year? Why do they want to change or adapt to their old or new habits?

The answer to these questions is simple: A series of studies have suggested that the new year often brings a feeling of beginning or a new start and making a new resolution at the starting of a new year is often termed to be “fresh start effect” and is believed to upshot the aspirational behaviours of people by motivating them.

Trick your brain into keeping New Year’s resolution:

Though I agree that it’s hard to change habits precisely because our brains are so good at becoming habituated. This is the major reason, most people are unable to follow their New Year’s resolutions for a longer period of time. The best way to follow the resolution is to stay motivated and the way to get that motivation is to involve your brain’s reward circuits. Positive feedback is like a drug to your neurons. In fact, positive feedback is kind of how you get addicted to anything.

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Here are the best ways to boost your determination and succeed with your New Year’s resolutions:

1. Plan your goal:

Picking your resolution wisely and putting in extensive planning are essential parts of achieving any goal. Trust me, this is going to help. According to psychological experts, if you make a detailed plan regarding how to proceed with a particular activity, the chances of success increases. It is important to brainstorm how you will tackle a major behaviour change, including the steps you will take, and why you want to do it.

2. Focus towards a specific goal:

You can also take this as setting your priorities clearer. In context of successfully carrying your New Year’s resolution, it’s important to make the resolution in the order of your priorities. As per much popular opinion, the chances of getting success increase when you set one resolution at a time because a long list of resolutions will diffuse your efforts to change. Scattering your energies into different directions, you may end up achieving nothing. Therefore, it will be better if you focus on one thing.

3. Avoid repeating past failures:

Another strategy for keeping your New Year’s resolution is to not make the exact same resolution year after year. You should try to consider altering your resolution slightly to make it more feasible in order to make it more achievable. Changing your approach methods will definitely help you achieve your goals and will make you follow your New Year’s resolution.

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