It’s the time of year when many make New Year’s resolutions. But how many people keep them? What do experts say we can do to make our resolutions stick?

We’ll learn from two: 

Dr. Michael Evans – Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Toronto, who also works with Apple to design new ways for people to be healthier.

And Dr. Justin D’Arienzo, Forensic and Clinical Psychologist

First, Dr. Evans.

There are three groups of people: those who don’t want to make a change, those contemplating making a change, and those that have decided to make a change.

Those that wanted to make a change for the New Year were more successful than those contemplating a change. Dr. Evans attributes this to the cultural aspects of New Years which  has people stopping to think, be mindful, and reflect.

He suggests that people employ reflective learning where they focus on: 

  • Personal Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Flexibility
  • Clarity about priorities
  • Balancing optimism with realism

He briefly discusses the attributes of successful personal change.

  • Focusing on small goals and small wins
  • Facilitation and self-monitoring
  • Using high will power moments to prepare for low will power moments

You can view Dr. Evans video here. 

Next, Dr. D’Arienzo, by focusing on the four reasons that resolutions fail, gives four steps to making resolutions that succeed.

  • Don’t set a change date
    • Setting one becomes an excuse to put off necessary changes now
  • Choose an activity you enjoy
    • Humans gravitate towards pleasurable experiences
  • Change incrementally. Start small.
    • Doing too large a change at once is likely to lead to failure
  • Achieve self-control
    • Humans seek autonomous control. Successes in incremental behavior will lead to this.

You can view Dr. D’Arienzo’s video here.