How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions

A month after the New Year’s ball drop and us confirming our resolutions for 2018 there is a chance that some of us may have slipped-up on those New Year’s promises already. It happens to the best of us, whether we swear off junk food in hopes of eating healthier or promise to start exercising more or stop using our phones as much — odds are, we may have already neglected our resolutions.

Research shows that 30 percent of those “new year, new me’s” give up on their resolutions by the two-week mark. But, just because you slipped-up a little early doesn’t mean you can’t come back from it. According to John Norcross, a professor of psychology here at The University of Scranton with co-authored work published in Time magazine, “Early slips do not predict failure. In fact, many ultimately successful resolvers report — even as they experience them — that the early slips strengthen their resolutions.”

However, he offered five scientific ways to restart and keep on track with those resolutions:

1. Give yourself a reality check: Instead of being bothered by failure, give yourself a break and realize that changing your behavior is basically learning a new skill, Norcross says.

2. Reframe your resolutions: Research also shows that people are more likely to achieve their resolutions if they bring immediate gratification, rather than delayed. So, pursue the resolution day-to-day and provide present motivation.

3. Find a buddy: “Having a resolution buddy doesn’t make much of a difference right away, but social support starts to make a big impact around February, or about a month in,” Norcross states.

4. Change your environment: “Chances are, something triggered your resolution lapse, whether it was a person, place or bad habit,” says Norcross, “Avoiding those triggers, and replacing them with people, places and things that will help you stick to your goal is crucial.”

5. Restart at the right time: Research shows that beginning a behavior change on a day of psychological importance—whether that’s the first of the month, a birthday or an anniversary — may improve your chances of success, according to Norcross.

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