By: Zach Geldert

How is your New Year resolution coming along? I bet the first two weeks were fantastic. You are starting to feel better about yourself and the choices you have been making. However, you can sense that, as course work begins to pile up and winter continues to drag on, your New Year resolution may be fading quicker than the sunlight in December. 

A University of Scranton study has shown that only 8% of people manage to accomplish their New Year resolution. With the help of Dr. Phillip Smith, associate professor of psychology at UPEI, the Cadre hopes to provide some helpful insight into how to make and maintain good habits while forever breaking bad ones.

Dr. Smith laid out 7 simple yet effective steps that have been proven to help with the formation/breaking of habits. They are:

  • Set a goal – change one behavior at a time  

Dr. Smith notes that it is important to set a specific goal. Instead of making a broad goal such as ‘live healthier’, set specific a specific goal such as ‘exercise for 30 minutes every day’. 

  • Announce the goal to others

By announcing goals to others, they will be able to enforce accountability.

  • Develop an implementation plan with sub-goals

Make sure to account for the what, where, when, and how the goal will be accomplished and benchmarks to highlight continual improvement.

  • Monitor and record progress

By monitoring and recording progress, whether it is in a journal or with technology, you can see the developing improvement.

  • Reinforce progress toward goal

This is about celebrating achievement while continually trying to improve. For example, have a brownie or a beer when you reach a certain fitness goal.

  • Build environment supportive of change

This can be done by surrounding yourself with people who understand your goals and encourage you to attain them. It also entails surrounding yourself with people who are accepting of your lifestyle change.

  • Interpret ‘relapse’ as part of the change process

Realistically, everyone is going to reach for a chip or two, bite their nails occasionally, or lay in bed watching Netflix until it asks if you are still alive. The important thing to remember is that change is not a linear process and sometimes you will fall off the wagon. What matters is that you pick yourself up with a positive attitude and continue towards achieving your goal.

By following these simple tips,  Dr. Smith says that you can increase your chances of maintaining those pesky resolutions. Buckle in; if you thought that your resolution was going to drop faster than your GPA you are wrong. While the Cadre cannot do your course work for you,  we hope that these tips can help you dig in your heels and prepare for the next 11 months of your New Year New You journey.

The Cadre would like to say thank you to Dr. Smith for kindly sitting down and offering expert advice. If you are ready to up the ante you can always write into the Cadre about your New Year resolution and how you are achieving it. That way all UPEI can hold you accountable!

photo credits: postconsumers.com