Every year we start out with such high hopes to complete our list of New Years Resolutions and every year by February we often discover we barely remember what the list was and haven't moved much closer to implementing them. A study of 3000 people by the University of Hertfordshire found 88% broke their resolutions. (Wiseman,2007). So you are not alone!
If you want to start fresh this March and find a way to make & keep your resolutions then try these four research-base tips to improve your chances.
1. Find your "Bright Spots". (Heath;Heath, 2010).
Discover what's working and do more of it. We often spend more time problem solving and thinking of ways to fix the problem. Psychologists tell us we're wired to look at the negative. Yet this hasn't proved to be all that effective in helping us achieve our goals. "Understanding a problem doesn't necessarily solve it." (Heath;Heath,2010). When it comes to changing our lives, learning from our bright spots are great motivators and give us direction. You see what works in your life now or in the past and you do more of that.
2. Make One Change at a Time.
Did you know that self control is exhaustible? Research shows us that we can actually run out of it. Consequently, you will have a better chance of successful change if you focus on one small change at a time.
3. Take that one Change and turn it into a Habit.
Once that change has turned into a habit, it no longer burns through self-control. You're more likely able to keep that resolution if you can turn it into a habit where it happens in the same time and place on a regular cycle.
4. Develop an Action Trigger to start your Habit.
Make an intentional plan around what your want. Then make an action trigger to remind you of your intention. That way, when your trigger is activated, your behaviour will follow. Using a trigger can be a great motivator to keeping your resolutions.