The Key to Keeping New Year's Resolutions

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Many of us bring in the New Year with the hope of positive change in our lives. We set resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, quit smoking, cut down screen time, or many other intentions that are meant to bring us more health, happiness, balance, success, and love. But for most, these resolutions are abandoned a few weeks or months into the year, and we fall back into our old habits. Why do so many people fail at making lasting changes, even when the desire to change remains? What is the secret to creating lasting change in our lives?

For many, cold turkey may be the fastest way to fail.

When we are fed up with our bad habits, and the new year is around the corner, it’s tempting to tell ourselves that starting January 1st we will abandon our vices completely. This makes us feel better in the moment, but truthfully, this may be the fastest way to fail. This strategy paints our success as black and white, and the first time you backslide on your resolution will bring feelings of failure, which can quickly snowball into abandoning your resolution completely.

Instead of drawing hard lines in the sand, spend some time discovering the true intentions beneath the change you want to make, and state it with positive language.

How your frame your resolutions is important, and if you frame it in a positive way you are more likely to notice more positivity in your progress. For example, if your resolution is to stop smoking or stop eating junk food, the signal you are sending to yourself and to the Universe is actually “smoking” and “junk food.” The brain and the Universe ignores words like “stop” and “quit” and amplifies the root of your statement, which is “smoking” and “junk food.” Telling yourself over and over you need to stop doing something will only bring more attention to the thing you want to quit. Instead, rephrase your intention into a positive like, “focus on my health,” and “improve my relationship with my body.”

After refining your resolution into positive language, write it down and revisit it regularly.

There is a surprising amount of power in writing something down. After you find the positive wording of your resolution, write it down and post it somewhere you see every day, like your on refrigerator or bathroom mirror.

Do your best each day.

Flexibility is essential to creating lasting change. Focus on your long-term progress and don’t let yourself get discouraged when you’re old habits revisit for a day or week. Being kind and loving to yourself is the only way to make positive improvements in your life.