New year resolutions are a lot like New Year's Eve cocktails — you try and take on as much as possible, and end up flushing it all down the toilet before the year really even begins.
The key to sticking to it: Pace yourself. Don't try to achieve too much too fast. Because what happens is always the same: another year full of regrets, self pity and a mess to clean up.
When it comes to this year's resolutions, scale back and give yourself a with , and maybe a smaller cup…
Cut your goals in half by taking out the negative.
According to , you can't learn not to do something. It's easier to perform a positive action than to take away a negative one. So when you're going through your resolutions, make sure that the things you want to take out of your life are replaced with things to counterbalance them. If you want to quit smoking, for instance, sub in gum or breathing exercises every time you want a cigarette, instead of focusing on cutting the cigarettes out. If biting your nails is a problem, create a distraction with , as psychologist Art Markman suggests.
Tell people the half of it.
People will ask what you're looking to change in the New Year because, well, it's an easy ice breaker. But, according to more than 80 years of research, experts say that "people who talk a lot about how they're going to achieve some goal end up being less likely to put actual work into achieving that goal." It's a phenom that describes as "social reality." The theory is that people often mistake talking about their goal for progress toward achieving that goal. In short, keep your resolutions (or at least some of them) to yourself.
Give yourself double the time and half the pressure.
It takes time to change. According to , it takes 66 days to form a habit. If it takes that long to form one, it probably takes that long to shed one. So be patient and give yourself room to make mistakes. Not everything is going to happen over night... or over a few cocktails.