The Psychology of New Year’s Resolutions

The beginning of the New Year marks a time for resolutions. According to the American Psychological Association, 93% of people set New Year’s resolutions. Among the most common resolutions are saving money, eating healthier, losing weight, and regularly exercising. However, research shows 45% of people fail to keep their resolutions by February, and only 19% of people stick to their resolutions for two years.

The question remains: how can you set realistic goals, increase your willpower, and fulfill your New Year’s resolutions?

Set Realistic Expectations

Very few things happen overnight. Moreover, when you embark on implementing change, it’s important to set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. For example, if you live a relatively sedentary lifestyle, consider a goal of walking every day, rather than exercising at the gym six days a week. You are more likely to stick to your resolutions if you make your goals practical and attainable. Starting small and breaking up larger goals into smaller, more manageable short-term goals will set you up for success.

Choose One Goal at a Time

When we take on too many goals at once, we set ourselves up for failure. Start by setting attainable resolutions. If you want to lose weight and be healthier, focus on either diet or exercise to start. Not both. Start by choosing one goal, and once you have that goal under control, move on to your second goal (and so forth). By phasing in your goals, you will set yourself up for sustainable success.

Change your Environment to Make it Easier

Research shows that people are more likely to stick to their resolutions when they change their environment. This can be a small change, such as banishing all credit cards from your wallet if you want to reduce your credit card debt. You can even enlist the help of others to change your environment. If you want to reduce your alcohol intake, ask your friends and family to refrain from drinking around you. If you’re striving to eat fewer sweets, ask your coworkers only to bring in cupcakes for special occasions. Supportive friends and family can significantly increase your chances of sticking to and achieving your resolutions.

Share Your Goals

Letting family and friends know you have New Year’s resolutions will help you on your path to achieving your goals. If you want to cut back on drinking, real friends and loved ones will not tempt you. Instead, they will encourage you and support you. Don’t be ashamed to ask for support from those around you.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Bad habits develop over time, and it will take time to make changes to your lifestyle. Like with anything else in life, you will have good days and bad days. Accept any lapses as part of the process on your path to achieving your goals. When you have a setback, take time to identify what caused you to have a setback so you can learn from your mistakes. After all, we are only human, and there will be highs and lows on your journey to achieving your resolutions.

Develop a “Beyond New Years” Mindset

Growth, development, and positive change doesn’t have to be restricted to the New Year. You can start whenever you want! There will be ups and downs on your path to success, and if you need to hit the refresh and restart button, you can do so at any time.

Cypress Counseling Center

At Cypress, we understand the pressures of wanting to usher in a New Year with positive change. We want you to know – you are not alone! We are passionate about empowering you to experience calm, satisfaction, and balance in your life. We work with children, teens, adults, couples, and families from all backgrounds and walks of life and want to help you live a life where happiness and fulfillment are the focus, not anxiety or seasonal depression.

Using a combination of scientific techniques, creative solutions, and compassionate care, our team of clinicians and psychologists are committed to helping our clients find the solutions they need to identify, mitigate, and overpower the obstacles on your path to success.

Contact a member of our team to learn more about how we can help you on your path to transformational growth.