The Trick to Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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Whether it’s losing weight, saving money, working out, being more productive, or eating healthier, we all have New Year’s resolutions we want to keep.

Only problem is, by the time the second week of January rolls around most of our good intentions have fallen by the wayside – but there is a trick to making New Year’s resolutions stick and it involves tricking the brain into thinking it’s a habit.

According to Popular Science, our brains are hardwired to love routine and to love habits. By taking advantage of the brain’s love of automation we can achieve new year goals. But to start Popular Science recommends breaking down our resolutions into achievable steps.

Abstract goals are not good resolutions to make. So, instead of saying “I want to lose weight in 2018,” break down that goal into something you can identify with like, “I want to lose 10 pounds in 2018.” Or, instead of having a resolution to exercise more in the coming year, break it down into something more specific by targeting in on what you want to accomplish like how many times you will hit the gym each week, or how long you will walk, run, or bike etc.

Once you achieve your target goal each week reward yourself by thinking about how good it made you feel. The positive act of feeling proud of your achievement – no matter how small – will spur you forward on your journey.

Popular Science recommends linking your new resolution to a habit you already have. For example, if your resolution is to drink a smoothie each day, incorporate that into your daily routine by making it when you are rinsing out your coffee cup, or prepping breakfast. “Your goal should be to make your new habits automatic, and you do that by pairing them with something else that already happens everyday,” Popular Science advises.

Lastly, you want to keep it up for 66 days. It may seem tough, but according to Popular Science, this is the average time it takes for something to become a habit – and once the brain sees something as a habit we are more likely to do it everyday without even thinking about it. Tell yourself you are going to do your New Year’s resolution for two months and if you still hate it after two months you can quit. Chances are your resolution will have already become part of your routine!