How to stay resolute in 2017, according to psychologists

resolutions

Psychologists say that support groups and visualizing your goal will help you fulfill resolutions.

Resolutions can push people to have a healthier lifestyle, go outside their comfort zones and reinvent themselves. But it’s not as easy to keep them as it seems.

It’s hard to break an old habit, according to sophomore Jane Albrecht.

“I think people forget about the difficulty there might be with their resolution,” Albrecht said.

It may seem impossible, but even the most difficult New Year’s resolutions can be kept with the right mindset and intentions.

Steven Buzinski, associate director of undergraduate studies and lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, said you should think about how you’ll stick to a resolution before putting goals into practice.

“One of the major reasons people fail to attain their goals is that they don’t think enough about them,” Buzinski said.

Kurt Gray, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, said implementation intentions are a great way to succeed in New Year’s resolutions.

Implementation intentions create a routine where you set a time, a place and a way to achieve your goal.

“It’s crazy (how) it works and how easy it is,” Gray said.

Planning can only take you so far in achieving your goals, but having a support group will help too.

Gray said solidarity pushes people to continue their resolutions.

“It’s a social aspect — we get support when other people are doing it,” he said.

First-year Emily Stringfellow, who set a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and go to the club swim practices, said she knows the importance of a support system.

“If we both make the same goal, that’ll definitely help to have someone do that with me,” Stringfellow said.

As important as a support system is, friends and family can’t force someone to work out, eat more vegetables or go to the library.

Buzinski said not having an internally-driven reason to pursue a goal is another factor for resolution failure.

Planning, having a support group and actually enjoying what you’re doing are all things that will keep your resolution strong, but one of the most important tools you’ll need to succeed is self-control.

“Cookies are so much easier to just walk in and grab than just sitting down and having a salad,” Stringfellow said.

Above all else, Gray recommends removing yourself from tempting situations.

“Resolutions have to do with self-control,” Gray said. “So, structure your environment where you don’t have to use self-control.”

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