NCU News

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Are you making New Year’s Resolutions? Are you looking forward to saving more money, living more healthfully, or working more productively? Do you want to make New Year’s Resolutions stick past January 15?

Dr. Amanda A. Brookshear, Ph.D., an associate professor of counseling at Northwest Christian University, says research reveals that 45% of us will make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 10% of us will actually turn Resolutions into habits.

“Change is hard for all of us,” said Dr. Brookshear. “If you are realistic, start small, and are diligent, you can reach the goals you set on December 31.” She offers four tips for people to make good on their 2016 New Year’s Resolutions.

1. Bundle your favorite activities with those that turn Resolutions into reality. For instance, only watch your favorite TV show while you on the treadmill at the gym or only eat your favorite snack while you organize the pantry. Bundling allows you to accomplish goals while not going “cold turkey” on things that keep you from reaching your goals.

2. Set specific goals. Instead of having a goal to “Be healthier,” set a goal to “Go for a walk twice per week” or turn “Spend more time with family” into “Have Sunday game night or Saturday morning breakfast time.” Goals aligned with specific activities keep you focused.

3. Make your New Year’s Resolutions public. Tell your friends, partners, co-workers, family or post on Facebook to let others know about what you are striving to achieve. Positive reinforcement from friends and family can keep you moving forward and help get you back on track when motivation wanes.

4. Make small changes in small time frames. For instance, instead of trying lose 50 pounds, set a goal to lose 5 pounds in January, and then a few more each month throughout the year.

“Often times, making changes requires willpower,” Dr. Brookshear said. “Willpower is like muscle. It must be built up gradually for it to develop properly and healthfully. Achieving New Year’s Resolutions is more like running or walking a marathon than racing in a sprint. They take time, patience, commitment and, if you slow down or even stop, there is plenty of time to start again to move forward toward your goals.”