Keeping Resolutions

Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2016 12:19 PM

If you struggle to maintain New Year's resolutions, you're not alone.

Psychologist Dr. Michael Vallis says that's because most people are going about it the wrong way.

Vallis says the reasons why people choose a certain goal is setting them up for failure.

"They primary driver to a New Year's resolution is someone feel bad about something. The motivation is get out of a bad situation and into a good one. We call that 'escape behavior."

He says the trigger for change often comes from trying to correct bad behavior over the holiday season like eating, spending, or drinking too much.

"You feel really, really, bad. You want to feel good. You work hard to feel good, but remember your motivation was feeling bad. So, when you start to feel good your motivation goes away."

Vallis says a better plan would be to take the month of January to reflect, then set smaller goals that can be met and readjusted throughout the year.

He says lasting change will often take longer than 12 months so he suggests celebrating the small victories instead of trying to make big change all at once.