Uh-oh, the New Year’s just begun and many of us are finding it hard to keep that resolution . . . from junking the junk food to starting an exercise routine or kicking the smoking habit. Rest assured you are not alone. In fact, 50 % of Americans will make resolutions for the new year and only 30% will keep them.
Most of believe we can handle more than we can. But there is also a biological reason a lot of our bad habits are so hard to break - they get wired into our brains. That’s not an excuse to give up. Most of us find bad habits harder to break because we are fighting against the power of an immediate reward as opposed to something that’s delayed but may be just as satisfying. It’s the fudge vs. broccoli choice - chocolate’s yum factor tends to beat out the knowledge that sticking with veggies brings an eventual reward of lost pounds.
So why don’t you try again with one or two “re-do new year’s resolutions”! Here are some helpful hints:
- Make a resolution really specific and then make a plan. The less complicated the better.
- Make small, gradual changes, You will more likely stick to them.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat the new behavior — the same routine at the same time of day. Resolved to exercise? Do it at the same time of day, rather than fitting it in haphazardly.
- Be aware of the rituals that link you to your bad habits and try to avoid them or guard yourself against them when possible.
- Have an accountability partner or group of friends to join you. Students with support systems stick to their goals longer.
- Reward yourself with something you really desire if you are keeping your resolution. Treat yourself to a new DVD, a great pair of jeans, or a dinner out.
Good luck and Happy “Do-Over” New Year!