New Year’s Resolutions: Still Resolved?

Here we are, 1 full month into 2018. It may seem like only yesterday you made a commitment to accomplish new goals, take on new challenges, and make resolutions for a better you. How are they going so far? Well, if you are like a majority of people, right about now is the time when resolutions start slipping and we fall off track. Hopefully, this brief article can help you stay on track or get back to the resolution you set for yourself.

So why do we find it so challenging to change our behaviors? Through behavioral intelligence, we can find the answer. Human beings are creatures of habit. Often, we find ourselves following a routine. It brings us a level of certainty in the world, which gives us comfort. When we attempt to disrupt our routine, our brain literally works to establish control and tries to get us to stick with what is known. We vow to exercise; our brain says that we can do it tomorrow. We promise ourselves that we will see our friends more; our brain tells us that they are probably busy. Our brain keeps us in the status quo because it has certainty. The saving grace is that through acknowledgement of this fact, we can start to observe the moments where our brain is limiting our actions toward positive, desired behaviors. Here are a few ways to overcome this challenge:

  1. Create new habits by pairing them with old ones – Imagine that your resolution is to take a multivitamin every day. Research in habit formation suggests that you pair it with something you already do, such as brushing your teeth. Wrap a rubber-band around your vitamin bottle and your toothbrush. Each time you reach to polish your pearly whites, you will be forming the habit of taking your vitamin.
  2. Affirm your commitment…the night before – Maybe you want to get up early and exercise. But every morning you justify hitting the snooze button and going back to bed. One way to train your brain into backing away from this negative reaction is to reaffirm your commitment the night before. Before you go to sleep, recite all of the reasons that you want to start this new behavior. Remind yourself of what your brain will naturally say in the morning, and how you will overcome it. Making this commitment the night before makes it harder for your brain to justify the negative reaction when game time comes.
  3. Write yourself a note – Sometimes, you need a reminder of what you can accomplish. Write yourself a little note of encouragement and make it so you can’t miss it. Affirmations have been shown to positively affect behavior, just think, you can do it!!

There are a lot of strategies to stay on track, but hopefully these simple solutions can give you the boost you need to attain your goal. Now, get out there and be the best you that you can be.

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