Many of us will be making resolutions for 2020 over the next couple of weeks. However, the majority of those who make resolutions will give up on them before the end of January.
The kinds of resolutions you make play a big role in whether or not you stick to them. You’re more likely to achieve reasonable, manageable goals than ambitious, difficult goals. But there are a few other things you can do to enhance your chances of getting to 2021 with your resolutions intact.
Making resolutions on the stroke of midnight when you’ve got a tummy full of champagne and a head full of party fever doesn’t usually result in reasonable, achievable goals. When making your New Year’s resolutions, plan ahead. Forward planning means you’re much more likely to hit upon manageable goals rather than impulsive, fizz-fuelled goals. What’s more, planning how you’re going to fulfil your New Year’s resolutions in advance is key to hitting the ground running in January.
Work on them with a friend
Humans are social creatures. Having the support and encouragement of a friend can inspire us to feats which we would never achieve on our own. What’s more, the fear of letting down a friend often keeps us going when we’d otherwise give up. Making joint resolutions with a friend and then working on them together doubles your chances of actially achieving them.
Write them down (and put them somewhere prominent)
Remind yourself of your goals by writing them down and putting them somewhere you’ll see them each day. To add to the effect, you could add words or pictures which describe the benefits you’ll see if you follow through with your resolutions. For example, if your resolution is to eat more healthily, you could add words like ‘fitness’, ‘health’, ‘weight loss’ and so on.
Give yourself incentives
Reward yourself for consistently keeping up with your goals. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you could do something like setting a pound coin aside for every pound in weight that you lose. At the end of the year, you can treat yourself to something lovely with all that money you’ve saved.
Give yourself disincentives
Disincentives can be even more motivational than incentives. A famous study involved two groups of people. Each person within each group was asigned £10 from study funds. Both groups were given the same goal but, while people in the first group were told that they’d be given the £10 if they achieved their goal, those in the second group were told that the £10 would be donated to an organisation they disliked if they failed. The second group, driven by the thought of funding something that they hated, far outperformed the first group when achieving their goal. So, negative motivation can be more powerful than positive motivation. Think about what a good disincentive might be for you.