If you are setting New Year's resolutions like planning to devote more time to your Youtube channel, sticking to a skincare regimen, reducing how much time to spend watching Love & Hip Hop or finally getting rid of that fuckboy for good, here's the thing about New Year's resolutions you should know.
They don't work.
According to leading psychologists, resolutions just aren't in line with the way we think.
Let's dig a little deeper and find out why they don't work and what you can do instead.
Most people find New Year’s resolutions difficult to keep
Local gyms are most crowded early January when people are most committed to their resolutions. But by February, people start dropping out that by December, they are either back to where they started before the resolution or are worse off.
Psychologist, Peter Herman, and his colleagues looked into the success rates of New Year resolutions, and it turns out that most people fail at sticking to their New Year’s resolutions.
They found out that people underestimated the difficulty of their goals and selected tasks that were overly ambitious. They named the habit of making self-improvement goals but failing to fulfill them the “False Hope Syndrome"
Essentially, we try to do tasks that are too hard, too quickly when it comes to New Year Resolutions.
Do the pre-work the goal demands
Successfully sticking to resolutions that are easy to make but hard to maintain, researchers say, requires taking actionable steps to change a behavior, rather than making drastic changes. In a study that looked at the success rates of 200 people trying to stick to their resolutions, another psychologist, John Norcross, found that those who prepared for the lifestyle changes they wanted to make were successful at accomplishing their goals.
For example, if you're trying to grow your brand as a beauty influencer this year, get acquainted with books or blogs about digital marketing, participate in meet/greets or events, or try filming at least once a week.
Do not set drastic goals, like filming every single day, and do not look for shortcuts. Buying followers and engagement is not going to cut it either.
Learn from failure
How you react to failure along the way is another key part of being successful with your New Year’s resolutions this year.
Alan Marlatt, a former Psychology Professor at the University of Washington DC, found that those who do not turn setbacks into full relapses are more likely to succeed with their resolutions.
Those who want to quit smoking, for example, might end up smoking a cigarette or two in their cessation journey. If they continue with their progress and do not see this moment of weakness as a complete failure, they have a better chance of quitting smoking.
How to win this year
Here’s a recap of steps to prevent the “false hope syndrome”.
- Break your big goals into smaller, attainable ones.
- Tackle one goal at a time.
- Ask for help and talk about your goals with friends.
- Celebrate small wins.
- Don’t wait another year to make goals. Nothing is stopping you from making those changes now.