Each year, millions of us make New Year Resolution—exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking, and so on. But close to 90% of people fail to maintain a resolution for a year, according to findings. Why do positive changes so rarely stick, and how can we change this? Some American Psychologists(Janet Polivy and Peter Herman) said that one of the main reasons self-improvement resolutions fail is because we have unrealistic expectations about four things:
- The amount of change that is possible.
- The speed at which we will see results.
- The ease of changing the behavior.
- The extent to which the change will positively impact our lives.
How can we overcome these barriers to change? One approach is to make our health goals more realistic. But that’s just half the battle. Even if we’re more realistic about what’s possible, it doesn’t that mean getting there is any simpler. However, these four steps put in consideration always can help achieve living a healthy habit. The steps are;
- Practice self-compassion. Self-acceptance may seem really direct to self-change, but research claims it’s just the opposite: By treating ourselves with kindness and understanding, we’re less likely to experience paralyzing feelings of shame and self-doubt, allowing us to set ambitious goals with less fear of failure. One’s self-compassionate approach is to build some wiggle room into our health goals (as long as this can be done safely and in moderation). For example, we might give ourselves permission to relax certain “rules” when we feel we need a break or when we’re not feeling well.
- Do it for “future you.” It’s important to live in the moment, but we’re unlikely to enjoy future moments as much if we don’t consider the welfare of our future selves. We tend to forget that we are the one who will suffer the consequences later on if we don’t live healthy and responsibly right now. Study shows that we become more motivated to make healthy choices when vividly envisioning/envisaging our future selves.
- Stop defining setbacks as failure. When any minor slip-up is interpreted as total failure, we’re more likely to give up prematurely. But if we take a longer view and recognize that progress can be bumpy, in fact, there would come a time when it seems like there is no hope at all, or no light at the end of a tunnel but in truth, there is hope and we’re more likely to bounce back from setbacks and learn from our mistakes.