Resolutions can succeed if planned
A Waikato- based psychologist specialising in behavioural psychology said most New Year’s resolutions are too ideal and lack planning.
With only 12 per cent of people sticking to their resolutions, the message comes from The University of Waikato’s Dr Rebecca Sargisson who said people must have a detailed plan in order for a resolution to succeed.
‘‘My feeling would be that people make resolutions that are too ambitious, too vague, or they don’t plan how they will achieve it.
‘‘If the goal is vague, say lose weight, then people won’t know when they have achieved it; how much is sufficient?
‘‘If it is too ambitious, say lose 10kg, then they will probably give up; the short-term reward of eating outweighs the long-term reward of losing weight,’’ she said.
Those who plan to lose weight and devise a plan to do so will likely be more successful, she said.
A plan would also force people to be realistic about what they can achieve and would include short-term goals.
‘‘ So, yes, failed resolutions are likely too ambitious and too vague on the detail.’’
To succeed Dr Sargisson believes markers along the journey should be planned as well as factoring ‘‘occasional slip-ups’’.
‘‘It seems to me that people sometimes make a resolution and believe that the change must occur on January 1 but I also think this is unrealistic. For example, if someone wants to give up smoking, the aim should be to give up that year, not necessarily that day.’’
Dr Sargisson said similar to other goals, the person should have a plan for how they will achieve giving up smoking.
‘‘People generally don’t work well for rewards or goals that are very distant so it is very important to include milestones along the way that people can celebrate, for example: I have lost 1kg or I no longer smoke in my car, to maintain motivation towards the long-term goal.’’
South Waikato News facebook members were asked about their resolutions for 2013: Caitlin Wallace: ‘‘Being more open-minded and confident towards new opportunities.’’ Kerry Purdy: ‘‘Mine is to lose weight and not find it again.’’ Ange Richards: ‘‘Give up smoking. I lasted half of New Year’s Day.’’ Natasha Kane Malone Martin-King: weight.’’ Karlena Whitehead: ‘‘Pay off my OE I went on last year and save for the next one.’’