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.

    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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