Have you sworn off making resolutions because you can not keep them up? Are you angry, frustrated or disappointed, and don’t you want to feel those emotions at all? Did you therefore decide to stop trying to change, even if it is very necessary to do so? That’s a shame! Positive change and learning new habits that are important to you, in whatever direction you would like to, can make sure that you will become a lot happier in the coming year! In this blog I – expert by experience and psychologist – will share my best tips!

Why only 17 percent of all resolutions succeed

Like approximately 80 percent of all Dutch, I always make New Year’s resolutions by the end of the year: eat healthier, exercise more and take more time for the things that are important to me. Usually after a few weeks of slogging they have vanished completely. According to a yearly ING survey I am not the only one who fails to succeed. This survey shows that only 17 percent of the people who make resolutions are able to accomplish the results they are looking for. Social Psychologist Roos Vonk suggests that this is because we set unrealistic goals for ourselves. Next to that, many people don’t realize what obstacles they must overcome to achieve their goals, Vonk says.

Perhaps this low pass rate evokes the idea to you that it is almost impossible to change your behavior. Luckily, this is not the case! Because just like you and me shaped our behavior and habits in our (yet) younger years, therefore we are also able to change it now. And, unfortunately perhaps, the statement: ‘I am too old for that’, is a lame excuse. In fact, you are able to adjust your behavior and skills until the day you blow out your last breath. You only need to acknowledge what is holding you back and choose to make a change, says Harvard Psychology lecturer Tal Ben-Sahar.

Age doesn’t matter: behavior and habits can always be changed

‘Okay, but how?’, you may be wondering now. Through the hard way, by reading about it and by trial and error I finally succeed last year! I eat healthier, I exercise three times a week and take more time for the things I find important now. Things I know that make me happy. Like spending time with the ones I love and care for.

Willingly, I grant you the happiness to achieve your happiness goals as well. With these tips I gladly give you the opportunity to increase your chances of successful New Year’s resolutions in the coming year. Believe me, it is less hard than you think. Sometimes with some (minor) adjustments and a little perseverance, keeping up your resolutions, and thereby becoming even more happy, is actually a(n) (easy to resist) ‘piece of cake’. 😉

  1. Focus on your strengths
    Focus setting and making your resolutions based on your strengths. According to Martin Seligman, one of the founders of Positive Psychology, you are able to create your own happiness by focussing your resolutions on what you do best, instead of what needs to be improved. Isn’t that wonderful? It all begins with gaining insight in your strengths, which you can do here!
  2. Stay realistic
    Set realistic and concrete New Year’s resolutions, it makes little sense to impose yourself to exercise every day if you know that this is not feasible in combination with your work beforehand. With a achievable resolution, for example exercising two times a week, you will increase your chances to succeed!
  3. Take it step by step
    Make sure that you do not want to change everything all in once. By spreading your resolutions over time, you are less likely to experience a decrease in willpower and to give in to temptations.
  4. Get enough sleep
    Get enough sleep (> 6 hours). Sleep deprivation disturbs the functioning of the brain regions responsible for controlling your desires. Sleeping enough can help to ensure that you easily say no to yet another drink or cookie.
  5. Ask for help
    And last, but not least: ask for help! You do not have to do everything alone, ask your friends and family to help, or join our Happier New Year Program from January 2017. Here you can learn how to be the most happiest version of yourself!

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Will 2017 be your best year ever?

In January 2017 we will launch the brand new program Happier New Year. Do you want to start 2017 in a fantastic way, and end it even better? Both at work and in private? Less stress and more happiness in your life? Then join us! Here’s your chance to co-determine how this online program, that unites the best of online and offline learning and helps you to create your happiest year ever, will look like!