Making Resolutions That Stick
Did you know that 40 percent of Americans vow to be nicer, eat healthier or quit smoking come January 1? And, according to The Wall Street Journal, the majority doesn’t succeed. In fact, there’s even an unofficial holiday to acknowledge these failures – Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day on January 17.
Still, those who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to succeed than those with the same goals who didn’t make a resolution. So the answer isn’t to stop making them but to make the right kind, say experts. Here are some guidelines to follow, adapted from a recent article on WSJ.com.
- Make them specific and small. Promises that don’t work are those that are overly grandiose, John C. Norcross, a professor of psychology at Pennsylvania’s University of Scranton and author of “Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions,” told WSJ.com. For example: Instead of declaring you’ll lose 50 pounds, vow to exercise three times per week. This is a much more realistic resolution that you can keep.
- Plan and promote. As with any life event, a little prep goes a long way. Take time to think about a simple and attainable resolution and then tell others about your plan. “Support and potential embarrassment keeps some people going,” Dr. Norcross said.
- Think in pairs. Studies show that “coactions” of two linked behaviors can mutually benefit one another, explained Dr. Norcross. “So if you have two goals naturally linked to one another—like diet and exercise, or saving money and sticking to a monthly budget — you can safely try to go for two,” he says.
- Find a healthy substitute. Especially if your resolution is to give up an unhealthy vice, like smoking cigarettes, you’ll need to line up a healthy replacement to help you stick with the promise. “If you suddenly stop smoking, you will be more anxious, so you need to exercise or meditate to replace the effects of nicotine,” Dr. Norcross said.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sticking to a resolution isn’t easy and you may slip up along the way. Remind yourself that it’s human to mess up and recommit to achieving your goals. “Turns out the slippers are more motivated after the slip,” Dr. Norcross says. “It was a wake-up call.”
Seeking Help in the New Year
Seabrook accepts admissions 24 hours a day into any of our detox and rehab programs. We understand that reaching out for help is difficult but it’s the first step toward a life free from alcohol and other drugs. To learn more about our researched-based Seabrook Model® of treatment, call today: 800-761-7575.