It’s that time of year again, for the cliché new year’s resolution. No doubt that we’ve all been there before making those promises to ourselves on January 1st.
I don’t think I know anybody who has stuck to a resolution successfully (including myself).
I’m unsure if it’s the pressure of the new year, new me ideal, or the post-festive blues which make new year’s resolutions so hard to stick to.
Hats off to you if you have may I add!
Psychological research suggests this is down to “ironic mental control”.
A theory whereby trying not to practice certain behaviours, particularly not thinking of them, can paradoxically increase them.
Ever tried to quit smoking, yet all of a sudden you find yourself thinking of a cigarette? Or tried to cut down on the unhealthy foods and start thinking of all the different types of chocolate there are that you could possibly indulge in?
That is what this theory is referring to, whereby you tend to think of these behaviours even more so than you would have done previously.
Researchers argue that the secret to success in resolutions is in keeping them positive. Not resolving to give up or quit on a behaviour in the new year.
An example would be to set a goal of taking up some form of exercise, which in turn would have a positive impact on smoking and unhealthy eating. (This isn’t to say trying to quit a behaviour is impossible. My career is based on successfully helping people quit unwanted behaviours on a daily basis!)
However, in 2017 I ditched the resolutions and set myself a number of goals to achieve throughout the year. Just a couple of examples I created for myself include progressing in my employment, running 10K, and starting a new hobby – all of which I can look back on the year and say I have achieved, and I am proud of doing so!
Wanting to set goals for ourselves allows us to look at ourselves in the present (whatever the time of year), and decide what we want to achieve in the future. What part of our lives we are happy with, and where we would like to see some positive change.
Giving us a sense of direction, most goals are achieved by putting a plan of action in practice. This helps keep you focused on reaching an achievement.
No “as of the 1st Jan I must do this and that from here on forward”. They can be set to last over a long period of time, or to be achieved within the short term.
Allowing individuals to take control of their own lives, rather than following the ambitions or actions told of them by others which can result in a sense of ‘wandering’ through life.
The root of all motivation is sourced from a once thought of goal. When put in practice, this creates a sense of pride and fulfillment of our own ambitions. This can then trigger to set more goals for ourselves, which results in further progress.
Instead of the traditional resolution, think about what you really want out of life. I mean who wants to look back on themselves in years to come and feel as though they settled for what was available to them then, and not reaching for more?
Goals can vary from anything in relation to career, fitness, relationships, travel. They also don’t need to be set just to be achieved within the new year. It’s always important to set ourselves a variety of short term and long terms goals whether this be in 3, 5 or 10 years in the future.
So there it is, how about you set some goals for yourself with me?
I'm Aimee creator of 'Aims On Health'.
Here you'll find things all health and wellness but my main interests lie in public health.
My work experience involves working with vulnerable groups in society, providing health eduction and promoting positive behaviour change. I have also just completed a Master of Public Health degree at the University of Liverpool.
Feel free to contact me for advice and support by clicking on the contact page!