Keep Your New Year Resolutions - Science Backed Methods | RMHP Blog

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Science-Backed Methods For Keeping New Year's Resolutions


How to Turn Resolutions Into Lasting Habits

 Another new year, another set of resolutions that you may or may not keep. But what if you could hack New Year’s resolutions so that you actually keep them for the long haul?

 

With a little science knowledge, you can do just that. Here are some tips and tricks about creating habits, and they’re all backed by science and psychology.

 

Think in terms of habit development, not resolutions

Think about some of the common things you try to change about your life when a new year starts: exercise more, eat healthier, spend less time online, and the list goes on.

 

What do all of these things have in common? They’re all habitual — you sit down on the couch instead of hitting the gym because it’s a comfortable habit. You might opt for pizza instead of lean protein and veggies because it’s an easy choice to make and you’ve been acting similarly for years.

 

Instead of trying to change old habits, try thinking about it in terms of creating new habits.

 

How to create new habits

Here’s how you can create a new habit:

 

  • Start small. Choose something small and measurable, like “Take a 20 minute walk each morning.”
  • Attach a new action to an old habit. Choose an already-established habit and then add to it. You can add more time to the existing habit or use it as a stimulus to cue yourself up for the new habit you’re working on.
  • Keep it easy at first. The new action needs to be super easy for the first week, because you’re trying to make your behavior automatic. After you do the action 3 to 7 times it will become more habitual.

 

Make your resolutions specific and challenging

Numerous studies have shown that goals have to be specific and challenging if we want to achieve them.

 

Determine how you’re going to measure your goal, and don’t make it too easy. Easy goals aren’t very motivating, and you won’t get the same sense of accomplishment as you do when you’re pushing yourself.

 

Surround yourself with like-minded people

Science also shows that the people we surround ourselves with have a major impact on our behavior. It’s called social contagion theory, and you can use it to your advantage.

 

Consider making goals with friends and family, joining a mastermind group or other club of people with similar resolutions, and spend time with people who have a good influence on your actions.

 

Break your resolutions up into smaller goals

Exercising, eating healthier, creating an overall healthy lifestyle… not only are these goals lacking specificity, they also represent huge lifestyle changes. To set yourself up for success it’s much more effective to break those goals down into smaller chunks.

 

For example, eating healthier might start with choosing to have a salad for lunch two times per week. Exercising could begin with a post-dinner walk four times per week.

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