Happy New Year! (2016 already?)
It’s no secret that with the holiday season passed, we are now in the heart of resolution season! I’ve heard a number of people (ironically) resolving not to make resolutions though for a variety of reasons: “they don’t mean anything”, “they don’t work”, “people never achieve their goals”, etc. But just because a task seems daunting doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. Here is a little information on resolutions, and how you can build successful habits for the new year.
1> Make just ONE resolution — and be specific. Humans are notoriously bad multitaskers — few targets are effectively completed — and as evidenced by Sanbonmatsu et al. (2013), multitasking behaviour has less to do with having many tasks to complete, and more to do with not being able to block out distractions. So cut down the number of things you need to focus on by limiting you resolutions to something specific.
“[…] the findings suggest that people often engage in multi-tasking because they are less able to block out distractions and focus on a singular task.”
2> Be Specific! Starting with small changes to address a big problem can be highly effective. For example, BJ Fogg of Stanford University is a proponent of using Tiny Habits to create long-term change. So instead of saying, “I want to lose weight next year” — why not approach it in a smaller, but constructive way, like “I will no longer visit Starbucks for a mid-morning snack” (sorry Starbucks) — and build from there. This is a specific, small change designed to begin addressing your goal — not solve the problem in a single step.
3> Be on Team You. Our world can feel like a negative, sarcastic, and cruel place at times — but there is just as much positivity out there, too. And positivity, particularly from within, appears to be important for successfully completing a resolution. As Norcross et al. (2002) of the University of Scranton demonstrate, there are characteristic most typical of successful resolvers, and different characteristics typical of unsuccessful resolvers.
For example, successful resolvers spent more time:
- Staying positive about themselves
- Believing in their ability to change
- Believing in their ability to maintain the change long term.
Meanwhile, those unsuccessful spent more time:
- Blaming themselves for wanting to change
- Wishing things were different already (in that moment)
- Thinking about the behaviour you wish to change hurting you.
Use these tips to have a happy, safe, and successful 2016 — whether you tackle a resolution or not!
Wishing you the very best at this time of year — New Years 2016.
Dr. Jim Gilliard is a chiropractor in Burlington, ON at Endorphins Health and Wellness Centre — located in the Burlington Professional Centre at 3155 Harvester Road, Suite 406. If you have questions, comments, or wish to book an appointment, please feel free to contact him at your convenience.
1> Norcross JC, Mrykalo MS, Blagys MD. Auld Lang Syne: Success Predictors, Change Processes, and Self-Reported Outcomes of New Year’s Resolvers and Nonresolvers. J Clin Psychol. 2002;58(4):397–405.
2> Sanbonmatsu DM, Strayer DL, Medeiros-Ward N, Watson JM. Who Multi-Tasks and Why? Multi-Tasking Ability, Perceived Multi-Tasking Ability, Impulsivity, and Sensation Seeking. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54402.