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You're likely to break your 2023 resolutions this week - here's how to stick to them

Keys to keeping New Year's Resolutions

The excitement, the hustle and bustle of the festivities are officially dead for another year, making room for the Monday-est month of the year: January.

Inevitably, 2023 has already seen the return of detoxes, Dry Jan, Veganuary and the month's most-asked question: What's your New Year's resolution?

Now, not to pop the optimistic bubble, but a 2021 study revealed that around two-thirds of people abandon their goals within the first three weeks.

Sundried suggested that some fail to fulfil their resolutions because there's too high of an expectation, a lack of time or money and no plans or motivation. People also tend to forget.

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Harvard expert Lisa Lahey, who wrote Immunity to Change, also said: "People have a very misguided notion that you can actually change fast. It’s just not true. You really need to give yourself more space."

She explained that the worst thing about falling off New Year's resolutions isn't giving up; it's how we criticise ourselves despite endless research suggesting how resistant humans are to change.

"It’s like people drink the Kool-Aid, [and think] ‘If I really intend to make this goal happen, and I can’t, I’m a loser. There’s something wrong with me,'" Lahey told CNBC. "I think it’s just a profound loss of human energy."

"So much of that has to do with the fact that people don’t recognise and sufficiently respect that there are powerful forces at play that are [operating] at an unconscious level that make it hard for us to change."

She added: "There’s nothing shameful about that."

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Basic behaviours take around three months to set in, Clarissa Silva, behavioural scientist and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, told Indy100. This is one of the reasons most people throw in the towel, as they often lose vision of their long-term goals.

To surpass the supposed January doomsday, Clarissa urges people to "not focus on what needs to be accomplished tomorrow" and instead "look at what you can accomplish in that year and work backwards."

"That way, you can compartmentalise events into months and feel a sense of accomplishment in each goal achieved," she said.

Clarissa broke down three key aspects for keeping long-term changes at the forefront of the mind.


Growth

Writing a letter to your former self instils the things you've gained and reiterates your personal growth over the year, according to Clarissa. She advises people to tap into gratitude and note everything they're grateful for.

"As you write down your goals, evaluate each item from a growth perspective," she suggests. "Whether you: grew from the ordeal of a breakup, divorced, found the love of your life, found a job, got laid off, gained more customers, or started your own business. Think about each thing you would like to continue and things you would like to grow from."


Micro-goal journaling

Clarissa emphasised the power of journalling through documenting every small goal you aspire to achieve.

"Start with incremental goals and document changes as a result of this new approach. Monitoring your progress with your incremental changes creates cognitive conditioning that will help you form a new behaviour and get you closer to your ideal version of yourself," she said.


Mathematics of intent

"Everything we go through brings us closer to what we need to actualise our dreams or bring about our happiness," Clarissa explained. "Whatever the situation is, think about what led you to that moment and what you intended to happen."

"Mathematically evaluate your intentions. If it is what you intended, apply that formula to other situations."

She continued: "If it wasn’t, revise the process by being more congruent with what you want to achieve. Sometimes when we see it written, we are better able to see some of the incongruences in our thinking very clearly."

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