General Wellbeing
Achieve Lasting Success with Your New Year's Resolutions
Anya Roy
Anya Roy

As the new year kicks off, 59% of individuals globally will set health-related resolutions like losing weight, eating healthier, and exercising more. Unfortunately, the majority of resolutions fail with most people abandoning them by February. Why do resolutions flop and how can insights from behavioural science help them stick?

The first tip is to connect resolutions to personal values and what you genuinely care about, rather than vague societal expectations. When goals align with areas you find meaningful, like improving family relationships or boosting energy levels, you feel more motivated to persist. Research shows linking goals to values increases commitment and effort invested.

Finding a supportive community is also key. A study on exercise programs found significantly higher adherence when participants joined a group rather than did it alone. Whether it’s taking a friend along to the gym, participating in virtual challenges, or sharing your resolution on social media, accountability and camaraderie make the journey more enjoyable and increase your chance of success.

Additionally, focus on progress rather than just the end outcome. Experiments reveal that self-rewarding small wins and milestones reinforces the desired behaviour change. Celebrating the initial progress made, like going to the weekly yoga class or having a nutritious breakfast daily, encourages you to keep going.

Finally, understand your triggers and have plans to counteract them when willpower wavers. Common resolution derailers are stress, negative emotions, fatigue, and unhealthy food cravings. But research shows that having if-then contingency plans help overcome barriers. For example, “If I have a sweet craving, then I will have a piece of fruit instead.”

With personal meaning, community, celebrating small wins, and planning for pitfalls, those resolutions can stick. Behavioral science reveals how to transform hopes into positive lasting change.

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