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New Year's Resolutions


As another year draws to an end it's likely that many students (and many psychology instructors for that matter) will be thinking about making their annual new year's resolutions. This is a great topic for a class discussion. You can begin by asking a range of general questions e.g:


Hands up if you will be making one or more new year's resolutions?


What are your new year's resolutions?


Did you make any new year's resolutions last year?


Where you successful in keeping last years resolutions?






Given that the majority of your students (like most people who have made new year's resolutions in the past) will have failed to keep them, you can discuss with them how best to keep their new year's resolutions this time around. For instance, based on a large-scale study conducted by psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, into the techniques employed by people who successfully kept their new year's resolutions, Professor Richard Wiseman's top 10 tips are:

1) Make only one resolution, your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.


2) Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to think about your resolution and instead take some time out a few days before and reflect upon what you really want to achieve.


3) Avoid previous resolutions; deciding to re-visit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.


4) Don’t run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life.


5) Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable, and time-based.


6) Tell your friends and family about your goals, thus increasing the fear of failure and eliciting support.


7) Regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals by creating a checklist of how life would be better once you obtain your aim.


8) Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, thus maintaining motivation and a sense of progress.


9) Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a handwritten journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.


10) Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary set-back rather than a reason to give up altogether.