Ever made a New Year’s resolution only to break it a few weeks later? If you’re like most people you start off a brand new year with things you want to quit such as spending too much money, eating less calorie-laden food, or cutting back on alcohol.
However, researchers in Sweden have found the way we phrase our resolutions may be the key to success.
According to U.S News and World Report, Swedish researchers looked at more than 1,000 people who made resolutions at the end of 2017 and followed them through 2018. The participants were divided into three groups that received different types of support. One group received no support at all, another group received some support, and the third group received extended support.
At the end of the year, researchers found that the type of support each group received had little to no impact on whether they kept their resolutions or not. However, they did find the way each individual phrased their resolution made a huge impact.
“It was found that the support given to the participants did not make much of a difference when it came down to how well participants kept their resolutions throughout the year. What surprised us were the results on how to phrase your resolution,” said Per Carlbring, a psychology professor at Stockholm University in a statement reported by U.S. News and World Report.
Researchers found that formulating a resolution to say “I will start to” was better than saying “I will quit/avoid to.”
“For example, if your goal is to stop eating sweets in order to lose weight, you will most likely be more successful if you say ‘I will eat fruit several times a day’ instead. You then replace sweets with something healthier, which probably means you will lose weight and also keep your resolution,” Carlbring said in a university news release, U.S. News and World Report shared.