Enrol for a course, lose weight, have more fun with the kids, exercise more, quit smoking, learn a language, be more calm and patient - we can all reel off a list of typical resolutions made… but how long before they are broken??
It is estimated (by the New York Times) that more than half of all resolutions fail. Surely this is because we’re setting ourselves the wrong ones? Are there certain resolutions you're more likely to keep?
We can draw on research on how you can stick to your guns. There is evidence that we are driven by "loss aversion" - that is, we are more motivated to regain something we have lost, whether that's an old hobby or a former level of fitness, than we are to gain something new such as learning a new skill. Successful resolutions must also be realistic and achievable!
Get others involved!
Dr John Michael, a philosopher at Warwick University, studies the social factors involved in making and keeping commitments.
He says we are more likely to keep resolutions if we can see them as being somehow important to other people – we are letting someone else down if we fail.
That might mean committing to attend a class with a friend - we are more likely then to see through our commitments.
If you make your resolutions public this can help you to keep them. We would be worried that if we don’t see our resolutions through that people will think less of us – this will add to our resolve!
"We don't want to get a reputation as unreliable, so publicly announcing our plans can be motivating”, says Prof Neil Levy at the University of Oxford.
Make resolutions part of your longer-term plans
The best resolutions are the ones that help to achieve part of a longer term plan, rather than those that are vague and aspirational says Dr Anne Swinbourne, a behavioural psychologist at James Cook University, Australia,
If you've never shown an interest in sport, deciding to become a brilliant athlete is unlikely to stick.. but resolving to save money because you've always dreamed of travelling the world before you turn 50 might be more successful.
And keeping them is all about planning, she says, “If you want to drink less, plan to meet friends for coffee, not in a pub. People who rely on willpower mostly fail," according to Dr Swinbourne.
"To keep a resolution, you have to be boringly meticulous - you have to plan."
But let’s keep this whole resolution thing SIMPLE. Pick a few quick wins:Things you actually want to do which are also realistic. It could be meeting up over the next few months with a friend you would love to see but haven’t managed to catch up with for a while – Magic!
Keep in mind being REALISTIC. If we can see a reason and realistic goal for doing something, surely we are more likely to see it through.
If we look for change that requires a personality reboot this is more likely to fail! Instead, the key is to go for changes that play to our existing qualities and strengths.
MINI FIRST AID CLASS – on your list?
At so many of our Mini First Aid classes, we hear from parents that doing a first aid class had ‘been on their list for ages’ or that it was always something they had meant to do but previously ‘not got round to it’. When parents do attend one of our classes, they wax lyrical about how much more confident they feel in knowing what to do in an emergency situation. Hugely empowering.
So what are your quick wins? Has learning first aid always been a life skill on your ‘to do’ list? It really is as easy as booking a Mini First Aid course online. Then you can set your other realistic resolutions and pour that glass of wine!
Click here to find out more about Mini First Aid classes.
Click here to find out more about becoming a franchisee for Mini First Aid.