This year I will...

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The start of a New Year empowers us to abandon bad habits and adopt more healthy routines. However, by the end of January we often find it is difficult to keep our goals; we are discouraged and go back to our familiar patterns. Nikolaos Souvlakis and Sofia Farsati, of Wanstead based Noesis Psychotherapy Practice, offer their tips for making your resolutions a reality

I will loose at least ten pounds, I need to quit smoking, I will start dating, its time to move on – do any of these phrases sound familiar? January is here and many may already be struggling with New Year's resolutions that they hoped would mark a fresh beginning for them. Psychologists have conducted multiple studies on self change in general and especially on New Year's resolutions. Making a resolution is an important opportunity for you to enhance the quality of your life.

What separates successful from unsuccessful resolvers? After studying more than 700 volunteers, Professor Richard Wiseman revealed that less than a quarter of Britons were able to achieve their New Year's resolution in 2010. The following evidence-based key points for creating and keeping your New Year's resolution are borne out of research studies tracking successful resolvers. These tips will increase your will power and motivation:

  1. Select a realistic and attainable goal and write it down. Choosing just one aspect of your life, which needs improvement, can increase the chance for success.
  2. Develop a specific action plan. What, in particular, are you going to do differently this year to resolve the problem? Give yourself time consider your strategy. Having confidence that you can keep the resolution, despite any of last year's failures, is vital.
  3. Keep track of your progress by recording your altered behaviour. Scientific research shows that self-monitoring enhances the probability of keeping the resolution.
  4. Credit yourself for any achievements regarding your New Year resolution; each successful step should be rewarded with a (healthy) treat or compliment, this will keep you motivated.
  5. Allow yourself to do small steps in order to reach your resolution.
  6. Remember that meaningful behavioural change takes time. Three to six months are required before a change becomes routine.
  7. Do not let small difficulties take you away from your path. Occasional slips should be expected. Do not get discouraged and ensure you recommit to your resolution. According to a research study, 71% of successful resolvers conveyed that their first slip had, in fact, empowered their efforts.
  8. Review your resolution and strategies and re-evaluate your motivation.
  9. Ask for support from family members, friends, or fellow resolvers.
  10. Dwelling on your slips and blaming yourself will obstruct the accomplishment of your New Year's resolution. Keep in mind that a slip does not need to be a fail and be positive about your achievements.

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