3 Keys to keeping your New Years Resolutions

3 Keys to keeping your New Years Resolutions

Only around 12 per cent of people stick to their New Year's resolution. But, don't let that put you off. Resolutions are not redundant.

by Sarah Berry for the SMH (HERE

There are the self-restrained celestial few who will toast the new year with a square of chocolate and a chamomile.

Top tips for a successful resolution: 1. Set achievable goals instead of ideal goals. 2. Expect setbacks. 3. Don't use excuses or setbacks to put it off for another year.

As for the rest of us unsavoury souls, we baste ourselves with booze and slur that, as of January 2, we will be better behaved.

We promise this year, it will be different. Honest to God.

Around 50 per cent of Australians make a New Year's resolution and there's around an 88 per cent failure rate. But don't let the that put you off. Resolutions aren't redundant.

"You've got to make a start somewhere," says Sydney University psychologist, Professor Thiagarajan Sitharthan, who specialises in addiction. "We know they fail, but they fail because [people] make one blip and give up. They say 'I tried, but it failed so what's the point of trying?'

"Include slip-ups as part of your resolution. They're not the end of the world. You just carry on with your journey."

A journey that takes different people different amounts of time. Contrary to the popular belief that it takes 28 days to break a bad habit, research shows it can take up to a year.

In fact, Sitharthan says it takes most people three or four serious attempts at a goal to get there.

"I like the bicycle analogy,'" he says. When someone gets on a bike for the first time, they can rarely ride straight away. "You fall down a few times first…  you need training wheels."

Knowing this is important, given there's reward in our failure. Whenever we act on our old, bad habits we get a sweet, comforting hit of dopamine, before the angst and guilt inevitably set in. This has many of us bypassing the long-term benefits for short-term joy.

This is particularly pertinent at a time of year, namely New Year's Day, when we're psychically and physically feeling the pain. It also explains why hair of the dog is so appealing when we have one hell of a hangover.

But enduring a period of discomfort is par for the course when we're trying to make a change, Sitharthan says.

Creating a new habit is a skill. "Any new skill takes time to develop," he explains. "There will be mistakes… There will be a sense of awkwardness, but that doesn't mean failure.

"After two week it gets easier, after two months it gets easier still and after two years it's a second habit."

Keep reading the full & original article HERE