Setting New Year’s Resolutions with Science

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For most of us, New Year’s Resolutions create a promising start to the New Year, but they can quickly become a burden which is then forgotten by the time February rolls around. If you tend to fall into the pattern of failed resolutions, you’re not alone. In fact, about 88% of New Year’s Resolutions will not work out, and this is largely because we tend to overreach when it comes to goals for the coming year. This article will offer some solutions to help you make better resolutions with science on your side.

Why typical resolutions fail

The idea of the New Year’s Resolution is a somewhat romantic notion. Every twelve months when the calendar rolls over to the next year, we imagine that we can make big changes to our lives with a lasting effect. Unfortunately, the human brain is not designed to take on such significant task all at once. Therefore, vague resolutions like “lose weight” or “quit smoking” will be ineffective. Making multiple resolutions is also a slippery slope, because the brain will lose focus without a clear goal in mind.

How to design an effective resolution

To resolve your resolution crisis, you should focus on what really matters most. If you do want to make a big change such as “quit smoking,” you should have a clear strategy in place. Your resolution should be more about changing habits rather than setting an abstract goal. That means that quitting smoking might begin as smoking one fewer cigarette each day or establishing a routine to replace your morning cigarette. Once you begin to see success with one small habit, you can develop another positive habit that will continue to push you toward your ultimate goal.

What to remember when you set goals

As you think about your New Year’s resolution for next year, you should consider the reasons behind your goals. For example, if you want to get in shape, think about the motivation driving you – whether it is to fit into your clothes better, get healthier, or increase your energy. You should also hold yourself accountable to your goals by sharing your resolution with friends and family or writing it down.

With science on your side, set your New Year’s goals and get on track for success so that you’re working toward a healthier you all year round. As you seek support for your wellness-based goals for the new year, check out more of the MeMD blog for healthy living tips.