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Only 8% Of People Achieve Their New Year’s Goals, Here’s How To Be One Of Them In 2017

Only 8% Of People Achieve Their New Year’s Goals, Here’s How To Be One Of Them In 2017

If you have failed to keep one, more, or even all of your 2016’s New Year’s goals, take heart, 2017 is around the corner. If that’s not enough to cheer you up, picture this: only 8% of people are actually able to realize their resolutions, according to a study conducted by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, University of Scranton.[1] Being among the other 92% is no biggie!

How To Become Part Of The Elite 8%

Making resolutions is a good thing in itself; it tells us that we are on the right track to self-improvement. Sticking to those New Year’s goals and then finally achieving them is another story all together. To work towards those goals and to see resolutions through, we need to change our approach into a more logical and practical one.

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1. A Tangible Resolution

If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, then to make this idea into a goal, you have to break it down into realizable and measurable steps.[2] Try making fortnightly or monthly goals such as, “In January, I’ll go off processed grains and fried foods. In February, I will do one month of regular jogging.” By breaking down your New Year’s goals into tangible steps, you’d be that much closer to actual results.

2. Simple = Achievable

Self-improvement is an ongoing process.[3] You cannot turn into your version of perfection overnight, or even in the course of a year. Making a long, long list of New Year’s goals or rather ideas will only pile your plate too high and make you bin the whole lot within the first month. It’s better to aim to do just one thing, and do it right, seeing it to its rightful end rather than aiming too high and achieving practically nothing.

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3. Get Your Reasons Right

Many times we slip on our resolutions because they haven’t come from the right place. “I want to lose weight because I want to look great/because my boyfriend wants me to” will not provide you with the right motivation to stick to your New Year’s goals.[4] Make sure your “why” is coming from a good and place, lest your urge to stick to the resolution will also fade away as quickly as your reason.

4. Make It Public

The reason why some people are able to lose weight faster, save money better, or even stick to something as simple and basic as eating the right food, is because they go public with this information.[5] Keeping a diary or a journal is great, but something that is privy to just your eyes may make you let down your guard once too often.

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A blog is a better option, because you will have people reading your daily battles and sharing your struggles. You will find public support and encouragement, and a place to share your highs and lows. By making your New Year’s goals public, you connect to people in the same boat and enter a positive circle of commitment.

5. “Fine” Yourself

We follow traffic rules simply because if and when we don’t, other than putting ourselves and others at risk, we also end up being monetarily fined. Commit to giving yourself a fine if you slip from any of your New Year’s goals. Put the money in a fund, give it to charity, or simply stash it away for a rainy day.

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6. Keep Believing

Don’t let your belief in yourself slip. It’s okay to have a bad day, week or even month – it’s okay to feel disillusioned or disheartened – don’t let your blue mood shake your belief in yourself. If you believe that you can achieve your New Year’s goals, you will!

Reference

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Rima Pundir

Health, Wellness & Productivity Writer

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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