The Psychology behind New Year’s Resolutions

    If you have been attempting to turn a new leaf in 2023, you are definitely not alone. The idea of starting with a clean slate appeals to many of us and what better time to implement new change than at the start of a new year. Creating a list of resolutions may be straightforward however sticking to them generally seems to be more difficult. Whether your resolution is related to health, finances, career or relationships, there are several reasons why most of our resolutions do not last beyond January.

    Why do the majority of resolutions fail?

    New Year

    Often resolutions are not specific enough: Many popular resolutions, for instance “be more productive” are too broad. When our goals are too broad and ambiguous, they are hard to measure and track which makes us less likely to stay motivated.

    Setting unrealistic expectations: It is also quite common to set goals that are difficult to achieve based on our current situation and skillset. When we set the bar too high, we are more likely to feel disappointed in ourselves or tempted to give up completely.

    Resolutions are not personal: Often times we make goals based on other people’s expectations although they may feel meaningless to us. For example, our resolution may be to save up for a house deposit due to pressure from family and friends however, we personally may prefer to save money to travel instead. It is much more difficult to be driven to pursue goals that do not truly align with our values and desires.

    So how do we persevere with our new year’s resolutions?

    Understand why the change is important to us: It is easy to set goals however sticking to them heavily depends on how important the change is to us. Writing out the reasons you would like to implement change as well as the anticipated short-term and long-term benefits is a good place to begin.

    Focus on behaviour and not outcomes: When we spend too much time focusing on the outcome of our resolutions, for instance our weight or the amount of money in our savings, we are often setting ourselves up for failure. It is important to focus and commit to the specific behaviours we need to consistently engage in to reach our desired outcome rather than solely focusing on the end results.

    SMART goals: Ensuring your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely is key in sustaining behaviour change. As mentioned, when our goals are too unrealistic or broad that progress is unable to be measured, we are less driven to commit to the intended behaviour. If we have a broad resolution, it can be easier to accomplish if we are able to break it down into smaller goals.

    Speak to a professional: At Positive Mind Works, we have a team of psychologists with the knowledge and skills to explore your goals and develop tailored treatment plans to help adjust and commit to long-term change.

    To learn more or book an appointment, call our friendly reception team on 1800 327 477 (AU) 0800 327 477 (NZ) or click here to book online.

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