Good news for New Year’s resolutions!
You can now get help from mobile apps that send you reminders, keep you organized, keep track of what you eat, drink, smoke or spend, and monitor your exercise. There are thousands of apps for whatever lifestyle or health behavior you want to improve. See lists of some popular apps here and here.
Sticking to New Year’s resolutions is easier than ever … or is it? Like that treadmill gathering dust in the dark corner, mobile apps “work” only if you do. Technology does make certain tasks easier and more convenient. But no app can melt fat off your body, get a college degree, or improve your relationships without your active commitment and involvement.
The secret to success in making your New Year’s resolutions stick is not in finding the perfect app. It’s in adopting the right mindset.
Habit change requires sustained effort over a period of months. Are you ready for that? Answer the following three questions:
1. Is this a New Year’s resolution? Or simply a New Year’s wish?
A resolution is a firm decision marked by commitment and a plan. If you don’t have both, it’s just a wish. Example: Wish: I want to be more physically fit. Resolution: I commit to going to the gym 4 times per week, and will schedule it so that nothing interferes with my plan.
Success tip: Make your resolution behavior-specific and non-negotiable, for a specific length of time e.g., 3 months.
2. Am I making this resolution because I’m disgusted with myself? or because I love and respect myself?
Being disgusted with yourself may jumpstart your motivation, but it’s not enough to sustain effort over time. Self-loathing ultimately drains you of energy, making it more and more difficult to keep going. On the other hand, self-respect builds emotional energy, making it easier to carry on, even when the going gets tough.
Success tip: Write down 3 reasons why you deserve to do the work required for your success. Make copies and post them in several places where you can see them throughout the day.
3. Am I prepared for discomfort and sacrifice?
Behavioral change is uncomfortable. You may have withdrawal symptoms, urges and thoughts of giving up. That’s normal. The good news is that the discomfort doesn’t last forever. The symptoms come and go, and eventually become less frequent and less intense.
Success tip: When you experience physical or emotional discomfort while trying to change a habit or behavior, reframe the way you think of it. Hunger pangs? Great! That means the diet is working and you’ll soon be burning fat. Sore muscles? Terrific! That’s proof of your determination to exercise. Approached someone for a date and got rejected? Well, it’s nothing to celebrate. But you did survive. And you’re ready to meet someone new.