Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Psychology of New Year's Resolutions

When the New Year rolls around, many of us think in terms of making a New Year's Resolution for ourselves. The only problem for many of us, is that by the time the next Christmas comes that resolution is far distant memory. But the short of it is this: we all need goals. Goals helps us to formulate a plan or strategy to help us accomplish a desire we may have. Too many times, we simply focus on the "desire" we would like to accomplish this next year, without the plan to help us succeed.
So, keep these 5 things in mind when working on those New Year's Resolutions.
1. Keep things simple. Perhaps work on only one thing at a time. Break things down into smaller, and more workable steps.
2. State your "desire" in behavioral terms. It is not enough to say, "I want to get closer to God this year." The question is how, and you can do that by reading your Bible more often, or keeping a daily devotional.
3. Make it something you can count. Minutes you have walked. Chapters of the Bible you have read. Times you went to the gym to workout this week.
4. Write it down. Putting your plan into words is also very helpful. It is like a "contract" with yourself and contracts can be very motivational.
5. And plan to reward yourself at various points of accomplishment along the way. Giving yourself a pat on the back, using something material that you will buy if you complete certain tasks. It is the "ol' carrot in front of the donkey, pulling the cart" routine. At some point, we have to let the donkey get the carrot, or perhaps, he'll never pull for us again.
If you have any questions about some plans for your life, please drop us a note at the Behavioral Sciences department.

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