Give your resolutions a chance this year

As you emerge from festive hibernation and days of indulgence, the week ahead, let alone the year, probably seems hazy – but you have good intentions. Unfortunately, if you are like most people, your track record of keeping new year’s resolutions is patchy. So how could this year be different?

Shrink the challenge

Start small and be specific. A big lofty goal like aiming to get your finances in order can be overwhelming, and procrastination is likely. Instead, break it down. For instance, commit to saving 25 pounds, euros or dollars each week by eating three home-prepared lunches. Making small but steady progress towards a goal is inspiring – increasing your chances of staying the course.

Share the commitment

Pair up with somebody who has a similar aim for the new year. According to research by Wing and Jeffry, enrolling in a weight-loss programme with three friends increases the chances of keeping the weight off. Alternatively, make it harder to break your commitment by going public about it. Tell people about your challenge or use a website like

Make it to March

A study by University College London (Lally, 2009) revealed that people need 66 days on average to form a new habit. Resolving to call a family member or friend once a week might seem like a chore initially. But persevere, and the chances are you will wake up one morning in early March anxious to get on the phone.

Changing behaviour is just about the hardest thing you can do. Try combining these three strategies, and you could get your year off to a terrific start.



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