How to Stick with New Year’s Resolutions
Christmas and the New Year are now officially around the corner, and my heart is getting fuzzy just thinking of coffee, fireplaces, and bundling myself in blankets.
However, other than spending too much money and potential family drama, New Year’s Resolutions put the angel on the Christmas tree as my least favorite aspects of the holiday season.
Yes, I consider myself to be a productive goal-setter. However, I can’t remember the last time I set a New Year’s Resolution. The stigma of how many people break them by January 15th made me want to take myself out of the equation completely.
However, setting goals, and sticking to them, may not be as hard as you think.
Today, I bring you some Education Psychology via Albert Bandura’s concept of self-efficacy to break it all down.
Self-Efficacy is one’s own belief in themselves to accomplish a task.
So let’s say that finally committing to that gym membership is your chosen task or resolution.
Your belief in your ability to get up at 5 am, or to stop at the gym before you even get home from work, will contribute to whether you cancel that gym membership by January 15th of the new year. This is a prime example of making sure that we are
Self-efficacy is built from your own past experiences, the experiences of those around you, and the stories that you tell yourself and that others tell you.
Have you ever worked out at a gym in the past?
Were you ever an athlete, or very active as a child?
Were you surrounded by friends and family who valued exercising?
Are you someone who believes that you will achieve anything that you put your mind to?
The key is to reel in the Chandler-Bing-esque-self-hate and to instead tell ourselves, that today, “Out of my 14 waking hours, I will spend one hour at the gym.”
But it’s just not our own stories that we tell ourselves, it’s what other people have told us our whole lives.
Was there a coach or trainer who always pushed you harder?
Did you have a support system that believed you?
Was it the lack of a support system that made you believe in yourself so much damn harder?
We have control over our own self-efficacy, and we can rewrite our stories at any time. Here’s how:
- Our self-efficacy can shift based on our mood. Find the time of day, or time of week, best fit to practice your new year’s resolution. Will you be more receptive in the morning? Or does it make more sense for you to burn out any energy and stress that you’ve acquired at the end of the day?
- We can trick our brain into building self-efficacy by visualizing us accomplishing the task at hand. Visualize, visualize, visualize. Spend each day, picturing yourself doing the thing. So picture you’re poppin’ body in those Lululemon leggings, or visualize you shredding out of that muscle tee. Picture the water bottle you will take with you, and the time of day you have set aside for that hobby or task.
- We can build self-efficacy by breaking what is unknown (going to the gym) with smaller tasks that we are comfortable with. Sure, maybe you haven’t been to the gym in about 5 years, and nothing about that is comforting. But you have picked out clothes before, you have created dope AF playlists before, and you have refilled that water bottle about 300 times. Start small. Break down each major, looming task into something that is so small that it is silly not to do it. (i.e., refilling that water bottle.) Not only will this get you steps closer towards accomplishing your goal, but taking any form of action, with the overall goal in mind, is a step towards building our self-efficacy towards that task. (And if you’re like me, this is a wonderful excuse to make a list (!!) and then
to cross things off of it.)
Together, regardless of what your goals or resolutions are, let’s be a little less like Chandler and a little more like Phoebe running through central park.