A New Year Means New Resolutions
New Year’s Eve resolutions….love them or hate them, they can be a motivating factor to make a change in your life for the better. So why do we always make New Year’s resolutions that seem unattainable? You know the typical story – you set a resolution to exercise 6 days a week in the new year, then after two weeks, you start making excuses to skip the gym, and suddenly your 6 day a week gym routine is more like a 6 day a week sleep in late routine. Why does this happen and what can you do about it? Don’t worry – ABA can help with that!
Build the Goal Over Time
First, you want to set a goal that you can achieve and build on over time. You can start with the goal for the first month of incorporating the gym one day per week, once that’s been achieved, make the second month’s goal going to the gym two days per week, then the third month three, and the fourth, four, the fifth month five days, and by June you’re going 6 days per week. Then the last six months of the year you’re working on maintaining what you achieved over the first six months. This slow build up, makes for a more achievable goal and one that you can continue long term.
Make it Your Passion
When choosing a New Years Resolution, make sure you are choosing something you feel passionate about and something you really want to change or achieve. If you hate the gym, do not make that your goal for the new year. If your goal is actually to exercise more, you can make your plan to incorporate walking, stretching, or a yoga practice from your living room – it doesn’t have to involve the gym at all! Ask yourself what areas you want to work on, and fit your New Year’s resolution into those goals.
Make it Fun!
Along the same lines as making it your passion, make sure to make your resolution fun! If you love Zumba, incorporate one day of your exercise routine to include a fun Zumba class. Whatever you find fun, be sure to incorporate that into your New Year’s resolution. If you want to accomplish something that’s not inherently fun, such as taking an exam, which may not be as fun as Zumba, make sure to make some part of it fun. Maybe you can form a study group happy hour with your friends or study in the form of a trivia game.
More than a reward, you need to incorporate reinforcement for yourself. When reinforcement is provided, your behavior is more likely to happen again in the future. Make sure your reinforcer is enough to motivate you to keep going and achieve your goals. Assess what may be a reinforcer for the skill you are trying to accomplish. Maybe you can get a special Starbucks drink when you hit your exercise schedule goal for the week. If that’s not motivating enough, find something else that makes you excited to achieve and accomplish your goals.
Overall, if you incorporate all of these into your New Year’s Resolutions, you can be successful with keeping them! Best of luck and cheers to 2021!