New Year = A New You —The Secret to Making Resolutions that Stick

Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… Yet.”

              ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


New Year = A New You—The Secret to Making Resolutions that Stick

New Year’s resolutions are all around us at the start of a fresh new year. It’s tempting to get swept up in the excitement and make resolutions for a better life, a better self. And what’s wrong with that, you might ask? The psychology of resolutions is flawed, experts say. Resolutions suggest conflict and something forced, and being in a state of forced conflict with ourselves is not sustainable.


The power of “want to” versus “have to”

But that doesn’t mean we can’t set goals for becoming our best self. Instead, go deeper and identify why you want to make a change. Determining your core motivation and supporting your “why” is a stronger foundation that sets you up for success.


“The idea is to try to find something that is really important to you and that motivates you, and makes you really want to change, not because you have to change,” according to Dr. Marcelo Campos, lecturer at Harvard Medical School.


Once you understand your personal motivation, then you can move toward lifestyle shifts that are sustainable. The difference between these approaches may sound small, but the psychology and the energy differences are impactful. Instead of conflict, you’re in alignment.


The difference between lifestyle shifts and resolutions

Statistics vary, but some say up to 90% of resolutions don’t work. There are likely many reasons for this, but one of them is because “resolutions” sound temporary, and not as permanent as a lifestyle shift. If you’re hoping for a permanent result, then your expectation should be permanent from the outset. How you live your life—your lifestyle—is that permanent shift.


Dr. Yoni Freedhoff is an international speaker and professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa. He suggests asking yourself this question when embarking upon a goal, “could I keep doing this for the rest of my life?”


“If the answer is ‘no,’ you’ve got to find something else to do,” according to Freedhoff. “If it’s going to be a temporary effort, you’ll only have a temporary outcome.”


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