New Year’s Resolutions don’t work. Try something different in 2017!
With the second week of 2017 underway, many people will have given up their New Year’s resolutions already. Did you make any resolutions this year? If so, have you actually stuck to them? In fact by the end of the month 66% of people who made a resolution will have given up already according to a recent ComRes poll for Bupa. Many people make New Year’s resolutions but have actually no idea how they are going to set about achieving their goals or sustain their new regimes. The Thrive Programme can really help with this.
The Thrive Programme is an Evidence Based, Empowering and Easy to Understand Approach to Achieving Life-Long Positive Change
Having helped thousands of clients successfully achieve their goals, at the Thrive Programme we really understand the psychological mechanisms that underpin positive long term change. It doesn’t matter if it is weight loss, fitness, overcoming a fear, phobia or anxiety, all these goals and more can be achieved by developing strong psychological foundations, overcoming limiting beliefs and unhelpful thinking styles. There is no focus on specific issues or symptoms, it’s about getting clients to thrive and they will then have all the skills, self-knowledge and belief to achieve their goals in weeks rather than months.
To stand any chance of achieving and sustaining goals in the long term, we need to be really motivated, determined and have the will-power to stick it out even when the going gets tough. It is important that we want to change for ourselves, rather than pressure from husbands wives, partners, mothers, fathers, children or friends saying we should stop smoking, lose weight or get fit. We are far more likely to achieve our goals if we are in the driving seat of our own lives, rather than feeling helpless and powerless believing external forces are steering us down a certain path in life. It’s about feeling more in control and for those things that we are unable to directly control, it’s about learning great coping skills.
Goal Setting and Self-Efficacy
Motivation is not sufficient on its own if we are to achieve life-long positive change. Realistic and achievable goals need to be set. Using the SMART acronym is a great way to do this. Running 26 miles if you have only ever run 1 mile before would be very overwhelming. We are far more likely to achieve the goal of running a marathon if it is broken down into mini goals. As Thrive Programme Consultants, we help our clients to set realistic and timely shorter term goals to provide evidence and confidence that they are making progress. Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their ability to achieve a particular goal. Professional athletes or musicians will have this in spades. However, we can all learn to have high self-efficacy by setting ourselves effective mini goals to achieve the ultimate end goal. This in turn will lead to more goal setting (Hefferon & Boniwell, 2011). Those with high self-efficacy have that self- belief that if they stick to their goals and work hard they will ultimately succeed and get the outcome they were looking for. A great way to reinforce this process and provide evidence is to write our goals down and keep a written or video journal of steps taken to achieve the goals.
Positive Visualisation and Rehearsal
For any given goal we want to achieve, it is really important to get our imagination on our side and visualise what we want to happen rather than what we fear will happen.
As Coue’s Law of reversed effort states:
‘When the imagination and the will are in conflict, the imagination invariably gains the day’ (Brooks, 1922)
If we imagine how difficult something will be to achieve and that we are going to fail, then this is exactly what will happen! However, if we get our imagination to work with us rather than against us, it can really help us to achieve our goals. For example, if we keep thinking we are never going to be able to run 26 miles or lose a certain amount of weight and imagine how hard it is all going to be, then it will be. Instead if we imagine how each week we are going to be able to run a little bit further or lose a few more pounds, then the ultimate goal will not seem so daunting. Repeatedly visualise achieving your goal. How will you feel? What will you are wearing? Where will you be?
The road to achieving our goals is never as easy as we imagine. It is full of potholes and side roads that can lead us off track. However, if you are really determined to change, you will get there in the end. It is really important to not give yourself a hard time or give up after any blips. Take responsibility for your successes or failures and maintain a ‘not yet attitude’ rather than giving up when the going gets tough. There are unfortunately no quick fixes or magic wands as some would like us to believe. However by applying persistent and continuous effort (PACE) and really believing in yourself you can achieve life- long positive changes.
COMRES,2015. BUPA NEW YEAR RESOLUTION SURVEY. (online) Available at: <http//:www.comresglobal.com/polls/bupa-new-year-resolution-survey.> Accessed Jan 1st 2017
Hefferon, K & Boniwell, I. (2011) Positive Psychology -Theory, Research and Applications. Maidenhead: Open University Press