Making New Year resolutions work; no really, they can

    (LiliGraphie / BigStock)

    (LiliGraphie / BigStock)

    We start 2017 with good intentions. We make resolutions and then wonder what went wrong by February.

    Researchers at the University of Scranton found 8% of those resolutions are actually successful. But what about the rest?  They are too big and will fail.

    Paul Nolan, a music therapist from Drexel University, believes you run into trouble when planning big resolutions, like de-clutter a messy home.

    “If they can be put into bite size pieces, those are the ones that can be most effective for people and have more long lasting results,” he said.

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    Nolan thinks a better goal would be to downsize a music collection, or something else more manageable.

    But there’s a reason we do things like wanting to lose weight or live life to the fullest. It is a psychological process called wish fulfillment. Nolan said shame and guilt are factors that play into this as well.

    ” We may even unconsciously want to please a deceased parent. (Something like) My dad would like me better if I wasn’t so fat,” he added.

    Kim Dove, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who runs the men’s trauma program at Princeton House in Moorestown, says increasingly there’s societal pressure to set resolutions.  She adds we want to be a better version of ourselves.

    Dove said there is a a better way to effective goal-setting, tell other people about it. “When you tell other people, not only are you inviting other people into your journey, but you’re also held accountable in a way,” she said. 

    Since humans are creatures of habit, Dove says change is difficult and takes time, which isn’t an easy sell in a culture that values quick fixes and instant gratification. But breaking down goals into manageable pieces, and looking at what obstacles are in the way, can be effective strategies.

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