(RxWiki News) It's that time of year again — time to make resolutions with all those good intentions behind them. But how can you make sure they stick this year?
New Year's resolutions can be tricky. Around 80 percent of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions, clinical psychologist Joseph Luciani told the New York Post.
And most people don't keep their resolutions for very long, either. Research has shown that Jan. 12 is the day New Year's resolutions tend to falter.
Unrealistic expectations are often the cause of failed resolutions. Fortunately, there is hope. It has to do with the way you approach your resolutions.
Here's what you need to know about making changes that you want for yourself and your life — for good this time.
1) Focus on one change at a time.
You may want to make multiple changes come January, but because of the way your brain works, this approach can backfire. It takes time to form a new healthy habit. To ensure you form a new healthy habit that will last long term, focus on one change at a time and continue to work at that one habit.
For example, if your resolution is to be more active in 2020, you can't go from no activity to hour-long workout sessions every day. Instead, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You may want to follow that with one workout per week. With your doctor's approval, you can build your exercise regimen slowly but surely.
2) Emphasize small changes, and make your new habit as small as possible.
Instead of making a hefty New Year's resolution, focus on picking one habit and make your new habit as small as possible.
If you want to eat a healthier diet, you can get there without changing everything about the way you eat. Rather than making a broad resolution to eat a healthier diet, try being specific and focused. For instance, if you are working towards cutting back on sugary drinks, could you try to reduce your intake by one sugar drink per day versus trying to cut out all sugary drinks altogether?
With this specific goal in mind, you have something to focus on and are less likely to become overwhelmed.
3) Try adding something rather than taking it away.
Let's stick with our soda example above. A lot of people have trouble with depriving themselves of something they enjoy, such as a soda. So, if you want to drink less soda, how are you supposed to get past the mental block you experience when you think of actually achieving that goal?
Try adding something that will replace the soda you're going to stop drinking. For example, instead of saying, "I will drink less soda," try saying, "I will replace my daily soda with a sugar-free sparkling water."
Adding something instead of simply taking something away can make it easier to stick with a difficult resolution without feeling too deprived.
4) Don't be too hard on yourself.
Remember that it's OK to fail at a resolution, and failure does not mean you should give up. It simply means you need to try again. Putting too much pressure on yourself for your New Year's resolution is a shortcut to failure.
Any healthy resolution is worth trying again — even if it means you have to fail, reassess and give it another shot.
Always check with your health care provider before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine.