Psychology Tips and Tricks to Sticking with Your Resolutionsby Carissa Andrews - January 29th, 2018
When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day, it symbolizes for many of us, a fresh start and new beginning towards having the life we dream of. In fact, even Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook is right there with us. Unfortunately, resolutions, when not implemented with concrete steps in place, can fall to the wayside, and eventually be forgotten. What happens is a lackluster year, where we feel as though opportunities were missed (because they were), and we begin to feel hopeless. What if I told you, there are a number of ways you can trick yourself into sticking with your new year’s resolutions? Let’s take a look at eleven psychology tips and tricks that will help you stay on track, no matter what resolutions you have set out for yourself:
1.Don’t overdo itOne of the common mistakes people make every year is trying to bite off more than they can chew. Resist the urge to try to change your whole life in one go. Instead, start small, with manageable changes and goals. Then, as you become a master of one, move onto the next.
2.Share your goalsTell your friends, family, and coworkers your goals. Psychology dictates the more people know about a specific goal, the more likely you are to accomplish it. Sharing your goals verbally or in written form makes the goal more concrete in your mind, and affects your subconscious in ways we’re only beginning to understand. So, while you’re at it—consider joining a support group, too. The more people who can cheer you on and support you, the better.
3.Create a roadmapYou know the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Changing your life means taking on habits and old thought forms which have probably had your whole life to build. Your good intentions aren’t likely enough to force you to change. Instead, you need to create a clear, and concise road map on how you’ll reach your goal. You can’t accomplish anything without a crystal-clear picture in your mind.
4.Use milestonesIf your goals and resolutions are bigger (and even if they’re not), give yourself little milestones to celebrate. Diligently track your progress, so you can measure your results and identify when you’ve reached problem areas, or plateaus in your resolution.
5.Implement on a MondayThis year, we were pretty lucky. January 1st already gave us the gift of helping us out psychologically. As it turns out, those who start a new goal or lifestyle change on a Monday are more likely to have the willpower to back it up. So even if you didn’t start your goal on the right foot, do a reset next Monday, and give yourself the boost to follow through.
6.Ditch Plan BStudies suggest when you have a backup plan, it’s actually not there as a safety net, should anything go awry. Instead, as your ultimate goal begins to feel too challenging, you trick yourself into believing it’s a “safer” alternative. Do yourself a favor and ditch this fallback. If you have a goal you want to accomplish, set yourself up for success, not failure.
7.Bet on yourselfThere’s a reason sites like DietBet are successful (for both participants, and the platform). Financial incentives, especially in this day and age, can keep a carrot dangling in front of us. When you bet on yourself to reach your goals—whether they be weight loss, or something else, you give your subconscious pain-pleasure receptors a boost to keep you on track.
8.Accept slipupsLet’s face it, you’re human. As much as we all want to consider ourselves great at accomplishing our goals, we can (and probably will) slip up. The key here is to avoid the “all or nothing” mentality. If you screw up, move forward, regain your presence, and make better choices again—starting right now. Be resilient, and relinquish the need to be perfect. Stumbling is all a part of the process.
9.Look to the futureTake a moment and consider what your ideal future will look like. Think about how things will look 5, 10, and 20 years out. Now, do the same if you do nothing to reach your goals. Create a vision board to keep you motivated.
10.Watch out for patterns Be mindful of the way you handle your day. If you notice your willpower wanes in the afternoon, and you’re trying to eat healthier—have a plan to combat that. Don’t buy temptation foods, and make sure you have a healthy alternative ready, for example. The more you pay attention to your own personal patterns and pitfalls, the better you’ll get at having a contingency plan for when you’re trying to trip yourself up unconsciously.
11.Get a buddyEverything is better when you have a friend on board. Go all in with a friend who wants to accomplish a similar goal, and watch how transcendent your goals become. Not only will you do better, but they will, too.
Willpower alone, while a great starting point, will not get you closer to your goals if they aren’t backed up by action. In fact, there is even some expert advice to say the more you use willpower, the harder it is to resist temptation. It’s a muscle that needs to be flexed carefully—and supported with the roadmap we discussed earlier. We want you to have the best new year possible; which includes sticking to your resolutions. When you implement the psychology tips and tricks offered here today, we have no doubt you’ll be well on your way to an incredibly powerful, prosperous, and potent 2018!
Carissa Andrews is a freelance writer, graphic designer, and author. You can learn more about her at her website.