If getting in shape, eating healthier or quitting tobacco products are among your list of New Year’s resolutions, you’re in good company. During the first few months of the year, three-quarters of Americans who commit to change, choose one or more of those resolutions. However, 80% of resolution-ers fail by the 2nd week of February and are left to face the remorse of disappointment.
Fortunately, science has some key insights about how we can do better at achieving our good intentions for behavior change. One such insight can be gained from studies that track the outcomes of individuals who make New Year’s resolutions.
What do the vast majority of successful resolvers have in common? Extensive research points to self-efficacy, or the belief that one can effect and maintain change.
Perhaps the most studied concept in the field of psychology, self-efficacy helps its cultivators sustain motivation and handle the inevitable stress and discomfort involved in altering behaviors.
While most people can identify goals they want to accomplish, many also realize that putting change into action is not quite as simple. Self-efficacy plays a major role in the execution of change—how goals, tasks and challenges are approached.
It’s not that highly self-efficacious people are immune to difficulty, mishaps or complications. On the contrary, people with a strong sense of self-efficacy view challenging problems as tasks to be mastered and recover quickly from setbacks as well as disappointment.
One study that tracked the self-change attempts of 200 New Year’s resolvers found that over half of those still successful two years later experienced at least one slip, and while neither age nor gender predicted success, self-efficacy did. Many unsuccessful resolution-ers fell into the trap of dichotomous thinking, viewing a single slip up as evidence that they do not have what it takes to persevere. On the other hand, those who were successful were able to think constructively about their setbacks and avoid situational causes for failure in the future.
These findings are consistent with the transtheoretical model (TTM) of behavior change, a widely adopted model in health psychology, addiction research and behavior modification which conceptualizes habit-breaking as a process, rather than an event. Though there may be a last cigarette or a final fast food meal, the weeks or months leading up to that moment, as well as the daily decision to make healthier choices are all integral parts of cultivating successful behavior change.
So, what does all this mean for eager resolution-ers? If you need to make a significant change in your life, remember that success starts from within. Before starting a new resolution, focus first on cultivating self-efficacy and developing a specific and measurable plan for change. Then, when challenges or setbacks arise, focus on how to remove or avoid those obstacles in the future.
November 23, Palm Desert
Neuro Wellness Spa Palm Desert was honored to sponsor the Gratitude Ride in support of ABC Club’s Perinatal Program. It is always a pleasure to partner with incredible organizations in our community, especially those advocating for mental health and addiction recovery. Thank you to all of our friends, neighbors and colleagues who donated gifts for new moms in recovery!
December 5, 18119 Prairie Avenue, Torrance CA
Holidays are for gathering, and it was such a pleasure to host our most collaborative colleagues and community partners at our newest location. Thank you to all of those who joined us for dinner, live music and holiday cheer. We hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season!
December 6, Palm Desert
Neuro Wellness Spa Palm Desert was pleased to sponsor the 7th Annual ATS and Delphi Holiday Party. It was an honor to gather with so many incredible mental health providers to discuss collaboration and breaking barriers in 2020. We look forward to an impactful year ahead.
January 23-35, Riviera Resort, Palm Springs
We are proud to sponsor the Finding Freedom Symposium, an event aimed at bringing forward relevant information for best practices in supporting the LGBTQ community with co-occurring disorders. The conference is open to the community, treatment professionals, doctors, therapists and anyone who is interested in the unique issues facing sexual identity and co-occurring disorders treatment. We invite you to join for education, conversation and connection.