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7 science-based strategies to boost your willpower and succeed with your New Year's resolutions

Use Positive Framing

Resolving that you won't have any alcohol keeps the focus on the alcohol. Instead of focusing on what you don't want to do, focus on the positive aspect, like drinking more water.

Use gratitude and other positive emotions to steer your mind out of any pitfalls.

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7 science-based strategies to boost your willpower and succeed with your New Year's resolutions

7 science-based strategies to boost your willpower and succeed with your New Year's resolutions

http://theconversation.com/7-science-based-strategies-to-boost-your-willpower-and-succeed-with-your-new-years-resolutions-128762

theconversation.com

8

Key Ideas

New Year Resolutions

93% of us set new year resolutions, with the common themes being about losing weight, eating better, starting an exercise regime, or saving money.

Research shows that 45% of people fail within the first two months. 

Authentic Motivation

Why we set our goals matters. If it is out of fear or social expectations, then they are not going to last.

Authentic values are what helps achieve our goals, as there is a never-ending supply of willpower when we are doing what aligns with our innermost core.

Use Positive Framing

Resolving that you won't have any alcohol keeps the focus on the alcohol. Instead of focusing on what you don't want to do, focus on the positive aspect, like drinking more water.

Use gratitude and other positive emotions to steer your mind out of any pitfalls.

Change Your Environment

Changing your environment helps you keep away from temptations and the risk of falling out of your commitments.

For example: If you have candy near your desk, you are more likely to eat it.

Obstacles Will Come

There will be obstacles and sudden changes in circumstances that will hamper our self-commitments.

Have alternatives and back-up plans in such cases, to avoid indulging in something sinful or skipping your workout. Anticipate situations that may occur to help yourself formulate an alternate way.

Gradual Approach

Starting small and building on the same leads to early success. Our good habits also have a way of spreading in other areas, if sustained long enough.

Example: Avoiding sugar and gradually succeeding in it, builds willpower to moderate caffeine intake.

Positive Visualization

Visualizing your rewards and consciously feeling euphoric about them improves your chances of engaging in the actions that result in those developments.

Setbacks are Your Friends

There will be hurdles and setbacks in the quest of trying to make yourself healthier.
Being harsh on yourself if you miss a day, or indulge in something you are avoiding will do no good. Accepting that you are not perfect and treating yourself with love and care is a much better strategy than being self-critical.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Self-Control

 ... is the ability to regulate and alter responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors, increase desirable ones, and achieve long-term goals.

Research on Self-Control
  • A 2011 survey found that 27 % of respondents identified a lack of willpower as the primary factor keeping them from reaching their goals. 
  • One study found that students who exhibited greater self-discipline had better grades, higher test scores, and were more likely to be admitted to a competitive academic program. 
  • The study also found that when it came to academic success, self-control was a more important factor than IQ scores.
  • A health study found that people who were rated as having high levels of self-control during childhood continued to have high levels of physical and mental health in adulthood.
  • Research has found that self-control is a limited resource. In the long-term, exercising self-control tends to strengthen it. 
Motivation and Monitoring

A lack of willpower is not the only factor that affects goal attainment.

  • There needs to be a clear goal and the motivation to change. Having an unclear or overly general goal and insufficient motivation can lead to failure.
  • You need to monitor your actions daily towards the achievement of the goal.
  • You need to have willpower.

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A Low Success Rate

New Year Resolutions typically show a low success rate, as 10% of them actually succeed.

The reason for this low rate might be our basic instincts and temptations: people give into te...

Willpower
If we strive to succeed it usually requires hard work. And hard work to achieve your desired goals requires willpower.
Willpower, while important, isn't the only thing required for success.
Emotions

Our emotions motivate us more than willpower.

If we are generous, fair and co-operative, we have an invaluable tool to motivate us to complete our goals. If we cultivate good character, compassion, and honesty, it leads to a better chance of success in our endeavors.

Successful behavior change

One potential problem when changing behaviors is that we're too often motivated by negatives such as guilt, fear, or regret.

  • Research found that long-lasting change in behavior is mo...
Change is a process

... not an event. The transtheoretical model (TTM) presupposes that at any given time, a person is in one of five stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance.

Each stage is a preparation for the next one, so you mustn't hurry through or skip stages.

Precontemplation

At this stage, you have no conscious intention of making a change. People in this stage tend to avoid reading, talking, or thinking about unhealthy behavior. However, their awareness and interest may be sparked by outside influences.

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New Year's resolutions

New Year Resolutions are a disaster for a majority of us.

They feel unpleasant due to the fact that we see them as an event. The time, process, dedication, and commitment we need to them done...

Event Vs Process

All events have a backstory, a history, some amount of risk and sacrifice.

  • If we focus on the event only, we will not be able to do anything with our lives.
  • If we follow the process, daily making ourselves better and stay committed, we end up getting the life we desire.
Losing weight

As we know, exercise in any form makes us better.

Instead of complicating the process and making it a big event, just smoothen the daily process. Make a habit of going out to exercise by getting up early, wearing the right clothes, packing the gym bag at night, so that you remove friction from the activity.

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There are no such things as secrets when it comes to personal success
Every piece of new advice you hear has been said before. The real secret lies in how well you execute the advice.  🤔

Doing something is better than saying you’re going to do something.

Doing something is better than saying you’re going to do something. No one can argue with that.  🏅
Practical Tips To Make Your Resolutions Stick Even Better ⚓️
  1. Keep It Small — It’s about thinking big and acting small. You’ll achieve those big goals in time.

  2. Measure Your Progress — If you don’t measure your progress, it’s safe to say that you are not making any. 

  3. Be Accountable To Yourself — One of the most important skills you can learn in life is to be self-reliant. 

The Rush of Motivation

During the first week of the new year, there is a rush of motivated people who want to achieve their respective self-improvement goals. But then all this rush always tapers off, with only about 8 %...

Procrastinating

Procrastination, or the way we let pending tasks linger on, just avoiding them, is one of the main reasons our goals don't materialize.

The longer any work is avoided the harder it becomes to eventually do it.

Like dishes piling up in the kitchen sink, they get harder and harder to do as the load increases.

Fear as the Cause of Inaction

Fear causes us to procrastinate. It can be:

  • Fear of change
  • Fear of leaving our comfort zone
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of what other people would think of us

We justify these fears by imaginary different reasons, but the root cause is not related to our invented reasons, it is our inherent fear.

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Force yourself to do things

Our mind has muscles. It memorizes patterns. By doing this over and over, you're building your willpower and self-discipline. 

Forcing yourself to do things...

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."
Focus on the emotional reward

Focus on the feeling you feel after doing something that you know is good for you.

  • The adrenaline rush.
  • The feeling of being fit and healthy.
  • The relief you feel after having finished a big project.
  • The pride you gain from an accomplishment.
  • The confidence you feel after having faced your fear.

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Gretchen Rubin

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

Gretchen Rubin
One Step Daily

Most people do not stick to their New Year's resolutions because they focus on the entire task.

By just focusing on the daily small steps, one is able to create a successful daily routine.

Keep It Practical

Dial back your goal for the New Year to be a more practical, pragmatic one, and your chances of success will rise dramatically.

Don't be too hard on yourself.

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The Fresh Start Effect
The Fresh Start Effect

During the new year, our birthday or even the start of a school year, most of us have a feeling of a fresh start, a new beginning.

These 'fresh start' moments provide us with a temporary m...

Unrealistic and Sudden Goals

We decide to suddenly start to follow our new daily routine, incorrectly assuming that suddenly we have changed, and are now a completely different and new person.

It is unrealistic to suddenly change from today to tomorrow; it's better to change in a gradual manner.

SMART Goals are Not Smart

Most of the books dealing with goal-setting talk about S.M.A.R.T. goal framework - goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.

While this is a good start, being time-bound in our new self-commitments has its drawbacks.

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2 mindsets of building wealth
2 mindsets of building wealth
  • Spending mindset: People who stay poor or middle class see money as something to be spent.
  • Investing mindset: People who become rich see...
People rely too much on self-discipline

 ....and eschew forming useful habits. Instead, they set unrealistic drastic goals that and then become frustrated when they make little to no progress towards them. 

Goals sound much sexier in our head than habits
  • Goals: there’s a clear image of a certain result in our head and that gets us more excited in the moment;
  • Habits: are long-term and repetitive - they seem boring. And there’s no clear image one can imagine for “going to the gym every morning for a year”.

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