Just as we start to make a list of New Year’s resolutions, most of us know that we’re probably going to abandon them as usual! Here are a few research-proved Psychological tricks to help you finally maintain your resolutions this year.
George Ainslie, a renowned American behavioral economist, came up with the theory of ‘bundling choices.’ When you bundle your choices, you don’t view them as separate unrelated episodes. In simpler terms, it’s not about choosing just how to act for now. Rather, it’s about how to act now and on every similar and subsequent occasion. For instance, your choice of whether to eat a pastry with your coffee can be predictive of your future choices in similar situations, like whenever you go to the café.
Focusing on Abstract Properties
According to psychological studies, focusing on abstract properties of things and events is more helpful than thinking about concrete properties. Suppose, one of the goals of your resolutions is to eat healthier food, but suddenly you get tempted by a doughnut. Now, focusing on the concrete properties of the doughnut, like its sweet flavors or sticky frostings, will promote consumption. But a focus on its abstract properties, shared with a broader set of things you’re trying to avoid, like its sugar content, unhealthy components, etc. tends to promote self-control. Known as the construal level theory, this practice facilitates more rational behavior and thought, leading to immediate self-control.
Forming Implementation Intentions
It’s all about forming an implementation of your intentions toward following your New Year’s resolutions. For example, if you intend to exercise more, form the intention to do it after encountering a cue, like setting off jogging after the alarm goes off. Multiple studies show that people are more likely to follow through with an intention in this process, as forming an implementation intention automates our preparation of the intended activity, making following through more plausible, possible, and successful.
Self-control is a limited resource that can wane off quicker than we might think! Making your self-control sustainable is the key to keeping up with your resolutions. For this, come up with different strategic approaches to avoid temptations. If eating less chocolate is your goal, don’t buy a family-size bar or fall into the trap of buying one get one free! Instead, buy a small bar and instead of relying on your willpower alone, think about the hassle of going out to buy more whenever you desire another square.