New Year’s Resolutions: 5 Rules From Psychology On Actually Keeping ‘Em Going
Using Psychology For 2021’s Resolutions
“From next year I am going to start eating healthy!” Three months pass and you’re already having a bag of Cheetos, with M&Ms, and some Coke. “Next year I will not procrastinate and submit my homework on time.” Two months pass and you’re at the verge of a mental breakdown because you have a night to complete an assignment that was to be done in 20 days. Relatable?
Here are some rules from Psychology you can use to keep those resolutions going! Though what you need to start with is to have goals that you can keep and those that are realistic. Don’t make too many resolutions and don’t try to achieve them all at once.
Prioritize your goals – A mistake most of us make is that we get overly ambitious with our resolutions. “I will not let others affect me.” Give yourself a break! You can’t even be close to perfection in the matter of one night. It takes time to change and grow. Prioritize your goals and achieve them gradually. Divide them into steps and then take one step at a time. When you feel you’ve conquered the one step, then move on to the next. The more you burden yourself with unrealistic self-expectations, the less your will power will be to achieve your goals. Rigid diets, for example, require a higher amount of will power as they expect you to diet all at once and not in steps.
Visualize your future self –Our present self relies on short term goals, sometimes even making us behave accordingly with our impulses. Our future self on the other hand is more righteous and based on long term goals. You might have noticed that your food choice has the tendency to be dependent on current situational stresses such as not being able to resist temptation. This is called the Present Bias. But does this happen when you want a degree? It takes time to graduate but it is your long term goals that help you reach the final tassel-shifting day. Imagining what your future self wants will help you make and maintain some long term goals.
Set deadlines for yourself –Setting deadlines or goals for yourself and then rewarding yourself for doing so and giving yourself penalties for not doing so will help maintain your resolutions. How do we do this though? Well, an example would be to decide that you will keep a certain amount of money every month in a box and you will not spend them unless it’s an emergency. When you’ve saved money for at least 6 months, you will reward yourself with a pizza treat. Here is where the power of peer pressure also works. You can ask a trusted friend to keep a track of whether you’re abiding by your goals or use websites such as stickKto broadcast so that online fellows can follow through with your progress. Such pressure could be helpful.
Change with others – Making goals together helps in making them easier to maintain. If two people are setting similar goals together, it makes it easier to follow goals and the chance of success increases. If two people wish to leave their smoking habit together, the motivation to do so will be higher along with an addition of keeping a track on each other’s progress. The pressure, along with the higher will power, will help in maintaining your new year’s resolutions.
With this being said, if in somewhere in between trying to achieve your resolutions, you feel like you failed..you didn’t. Trying is everything. You fall, you get back up. If you fall again, you get back up again. Allow yourself to forgive yourself. Then try again.