From spending less to getting fit, many of us will resolve to change our ways with resolutions in the New Year — but let's face it, most of our goals are abandoned by the end of the first week of January. If you really want to stick to your resolutions, no matter how big or small, here are some scientifically-proven tips to help.
Change your behaviour
To really stick to a resolution, you need to alter your behaviour so the change becomes part of your life without you needing to think about it. In 2010, a study published by the American Psychological Association found participants who planned exactly when and where they would floss their teeth were more successful in changing their dental hygiene habits than those who did not. To keep your goals alive, be specific and make the changes towards your resolution part of your everyday life.
Put pen to paper
Writing down your goals helps you keep them, according to a psychology professor at the Dominican University. Dr Gail Matthews found participants who wrote down their goals and charted their progress along the way, sharing them with friends had a much higher success rate (76%) than those who only thought about their goals (43%).
Focus on one goal
Find trying to change different aspects of your life difficult? Focusing on one goal can be much easier. In a 2007 study, British psychologist Richard Wiseman studied the success rate of 3,000 people in sticking to their resolutions, but found only 12% were able to achieve their goal. After analysing the success rate of those who fulfilled their goals, Wiseman encouraged sticking to one change to make resolutions more manageable.
Ask a question
Asking questions is a better way to influence your behaviour than telling yourself to do something because of a phenomenon called the "question-behaviour effect". According to researchers from four universities across the US, asking: "are you going to exercise next week?" is more likely to make your attitude towards exercising more accessible.
Plan out how you are going to achieve your goal by setting progress markers and reward yourself when you reach them. Sticking to a goal can be overwhelming, so breaking it up into smaller chunks makes the long-term resolution more achievable.