Expert Advice

About those 2014 Resolutions....

Rosanne Ullman | January 13, 2014 | 11:00 AM

About those 2014 Resolutions....Just five days into the new year, we asked you on MODERN SALON's Facebook page whether you were keeping your resolutions or ditching them. In just five days, about half of your responses indicated that you’d already given up! As contributor Daniel Massé put it: expectations .... replacing reality by really.

Let’s put you back on track. Dr. John Norcross, a researcher at the University of Scranton, did a study on New Year’s resolutions, and his work became the subject of a really cute video by Dr. Mike Evans, associate professor of family medicine and public health at the University of Toronto, staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and director of the health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital.

Some major findings of the study were:

50 percent of people make a commitment to improve some aspect of themselves in the coming year, with 41 percent making actual resolutions.

71 percent remained successful through week 2; the figure dropped to 46 percent at six months.
"People who set their goals at the New Year were 10 times more likely to be successful than those who tried at some other point during the year.

In evaluating why the success rate is higher for goals set at the New Year, Dr. Evans concluded that New Year’s is recognized as a time to be mindful and reflect, and we tend to announce our New Year’s resolutions and receive support from friends who are also are making changes. He offers some tips for sticking with your goals:

1. Become a “reflective learner.” That means being able to see your personal strengths and weaknesses, gain clarity about priorities, balance optimism with realism and have flexibility.

2. Think small, not big. Set little increments for each goal and celebrate each short-term success. Don’t copy the CEO and lay out a huge agenda. Instead, think of yourself as a plumber or carpenter. Set up your tools, reframe and adapt your structure and be confident that you can rebuild with better habits, one task at a time.

3. Don’t rely on willpower. Rather, set up your routine and environment to minimize temptation. “If you have a bigger bucket of popcorn, you’ll eat it,” Dr. Evans says. “Successful people schedule weekly sports games, hire a trainer, throw out the ashtray, put out their running shoes, cut up fruits and veggies and put them in the front of the fridge. They use their high-willpower moments to prepare for the low-willpower moments. We’re creatures of habit.”

January is named after the Janus, the Roman god of beginnings of transitions, who faces both the future and the past. Dr. Evans says, “That’s what’s special about New Year’s—learning from the past but pointing to a ‘new you’ and saying, ‘That’s where I want to go.’”

Click here to watch Dr. Evans’s video. 

And check #healthyhairdresser on Facebook and Instagram to add your voice to the conversation!

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