When the new year begins, many people want to start a new life. This can be seen not least in the gym during the first weeks of January. But saying a new year promise and being able to keep it year-round is easier said than done.
Now, psychology researchers in Stockholm and Linköping University have figured out how to proceed to succeed. Researchers followed more than a thousand people who announced the New Year’s resolution for one year. The study was published in PLoS one.
They find that those who wanted to start something had a higher chance of being successful in maintaining a New Year’s resolution than those who wanted to finish something.
To have a greater chance of success, you can thus reframe your promise. If you want to stop living unhealthily, you can instead start exercising. If you want to stop eating the sweets, you can start eating the fruit instead. Technology can be applied to most things.
But it is more difficult with smoking. This type of behavior change is not easy to replace. You can think about why you smoke. Is it taking a break from work or going outdoors. You can still do this without a cigarette, says Per Karlbring, professor of psychology at Stockholm University.
Lessons from successful people:
Just over half of those who participated in the study stated that they were able to fulfill the New Year’s promise. What can we learn from them?
You have to know why you want to succeed with your New Year’s promise. If it matters to you, you will fight a little more. Also, remember to prepare before the New Year. If you’re going to start exercising, have your training shoes and gym pass ready. If you start eating fruit, make sure you have the fruit in the house. This way, you can get started right away.
If you have a friend who wants to embark on the same journey, you can get help from each other. Tell loved ones about your goal and make sure you get support and help. Or choose a friend who asks you about your conditions, pushes you and motivates you. If you don’t have someone close to you, you can digitally find a like-minded person.
Keep in mind that there are more difficult periods and you may not succeed. Don’t think you’ve gone back to square one. Heaviest time in the beginning. It takes an average of 66 days to form a habit. If you can fight the first time, that will be easier later. But setbacks will affect everyone, so don’t give up.