Sticking to Your Resolutions

New years resolution are notoriously hard to keep, but researchers have discovered some simple brain duping techniques to keep you on track. First, if you are determined to start a goal January first, then don’t give yourself the option not to. Researchers have studied what they call the “Fresh Start Effect,” which describes how the brain is prone to think of particular days significant turning points.

“The ‘fresh start’ [produces a] goal-boosting effect for the start of the month (with activity peaking at the 1st of the month and declining towards the 30th or 31st). It even works for the start of the week (with activity peaking on Monday and declining through to Sunday),” said Lisa A. Williams, Senior Lecturer in School of Psychology at UNSW.

So if one were to set a goal to be achieved in 2018, and started Monday, January 1st, the research implies that they have a greater potential to achieve said goal then if one were to start it Thursday, March 8.

It’s also important to set goals which are achievable. If it’s not feasible that you will go to the gym everyday, don’t make that your resolution. If you don’t like salads, don’t plan to eat one everyday.

Often small changes can be the most effective. Work out for half an hour, five days a week or start putting your unhealthy snacks in little sandwich bags, restricting yourself to have only one bag a day and see how easy it gets to follow through with your plans.

One good way to stay on track is to turn your goal into a SMART goal. Make your goal Specific – it helps make your objective clear, it should also be Measurable which helps track your progress and that can help with motivation.

As mentioned before, set Achievable goals but also make them Relevant to you. There is no need to be dead set on becoming a yoga person if you don’t like yoga, pick a goal that would be beneficial to your personal life.

Time-bound finishes up the acronym, and it doesn’t have to be a single finish line. Breaking up your resolution into a dozen objectives over a period of time is another great way to track your progress.

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