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How to make those New Year’s resolutions stick

Can you guess how long New Year’s resolutions last, on average? If you answered one week, you win a prize.

So, what’s the reason that most resolutions fail? Experts used to think that a lack of willpower was the main culprit. It turns out that it is far more nuanced than that.

“People who recognize that their willpower will not sustain their behavior change are very clear thinkers because it won’t,” Donald Edmondson, associate professor at Columbia University and principal investigator for the National Institute of Health’s Science of Behavior Change, told CNBC Make It.

New Year's resolutions

There are strategies that can help you keep your New Year’s resolutions.

Courtesy of CNBC, here are research-backed tips to set and keep your resolutions for 2021:

  • Be specific
    • Be specific about your goal and how to achieve it. Research suggests that having a plan makes you less prone to procrastination and forgetfulness when you’re completing a difficult task.
  • Have the right ‘why’
    • Mindset is important when crafting an intention: People are more likely to retain a behavior change when they do it to feel better, rather than to avoid something bad from happening in the future.
  • Don’t share your resolutions on social media
    • Expressing your goals to other people can make you feel like you’ve already done the work to achieve it, says psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen. This is especially true if other people congratulate you or “pat you on the back” just for making a goal.
  • Have a backup plan
    • Research suggests that you should predict the potential obstacles that might stand in your way and generate a plan to overcome them.
  • Believe in yourself
    • Studies have shown that self-efficacy, or the belief that you can change, is important when you’re making a goal, and will make you extra resilient in the face of stress.

Source: CNBC