Firm in resolve?

Sticking to New Year’s resolution for a longer time requires some will power, a right approach and a set of helpful strategies

Firm in resolve?

It is that time of the year when people suddenly start taking their health more seriously, the running shoes come out, people pledge that they will dump the junk food, and have solid intentions to quit their vices.

Welcome to the new year's resolutions for 2022. Either you have made some or you will. As per some research, nearly 43 per cent of people expect to give up their New Year's resolutions by February. If you don't want to be part of the above percentage and are looking to be serious about following through, then here is some psychological warfare that can be used to keep the motivation amped up, and the chances of failure low.

Know thy 'why', know thy pain: Why are you choosing these set of resolutions? Begin with a 'why'! Question your 'why' till you get a real response that resonates with you. This is your true emotional source of motivation. Take time to familiarise yourself with the benefits of your choice, as well as its downsides. 'No pain, no gain' can be taken quite literally, for example, in the case of beginning to exercise. In the end, your true 'why' will support you to last long.

Anti-goal: Move over goals, try the anti-goals strategy that can aid in transforming your realities and drawing you closer to sustaining new and improved habits. Anti-goals create a balance by showing us a tangible set of values or actions that we don't want to be. For example: I don't want to be working for 18 hours a day, or I don't want my BMI to be in the overweight category this year.

Keep it smart, simple and personal: Most goals fail because they are too many in number, complicated, nonspecific, or even unrealistic. Stick to a few clear, realistic, specific and time-bound goals. Don't endorse societal resolutions or those others expect you to make. Be authentic to your needs and desires.

Commit to at least 30 days or 66 days: Previously it was emphasised that it takes 30 days to build new habits, but according to some new research, it takes about 66 days to do so.

Buddy system: Get your friend to accompany you to the gym. Make some resolutions together. Decide to quit smoking together and go for a bicycle ride instead of bar hopping.

App it up: Apps can help you stay on track, provide motivation, and send periodic reminders to stick to the resolutions. The market is flooded with free apps for every purpose. Running, eating right, drinking water, reading, cooking apps, you name it.

Habit stacking: Build on foundations that already exist. Habit stacking is a method in which rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location, you pair it with a current habit. James Clear describes the formula: 'After/Before (current habit), I will (new habit)'. For example, try adding meditation before your morning cup of tea, or exercise/walk after your evening cup of coffee.

Replace lost needs: When you quit a habit, your body still craves for similar feelings. Replace the bad habit for a better coping strategy. For example, if you are not having that drink with your friends, go for a cold beverage instead. If watching social media helps you to relax, choose to replace that with reading or meditation to bring in a sense of relaxation and replace that same need.

Remove temptation: What you see, you desire more. Try to get rid of constant temptation, for example, cigarettes, junk etc., from your environment to not struggle with willpower.

Reward and appreciate yourself: Give yourself some credit. It takes a lot of effort to even try to take the first step. Don't expect instant gains but keep giving yourself regular boost and motivation.

Reminder: Consistency is hard but worth trying: It is ambitious to stay consistent. It is okay if you can't show up every day. Just ensure you keep on trying. Even if you failed, give it another shot. It's not just about the end goal, but also about the process. In the words of Rocky Balboa: "Life isn't about how hard of a hit you can give, it's about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward."

Book recommendation: Atomic Habits by James Clear

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