There is certainly no lack of good ideas for 2022: slimming down, drinking less alcohol, meditating more often, and so on and so forth. Wait a minute! Aren’t the resolutions you had this past year, and the year before that (and before that, and before that) amazingly similar to the new ones? Indeed! Perhaps they’re even exactly the same.
No surprise! The enthusiasm with which we start each new year is a bit like the fireworks on New Year’s Eve: After a loud bang and bright flash, everything soon fizzles out. Eventually, the inner culprit takes control again. And so the misery repeats itself year after year. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you take a few things to heart, 2022 could be a good year for you.
1. One after another
“The biggest mistake you can make is to do too many things at once,” psychologist Mario Schuster said. If you not only want to stop smoking, but also ban sweets from your diet and finally start jogging, you’re bound to overtax yourself.
“To break old habits, we need willpower,” Schuster said. But nobody has that in abundance. Pursuing several goals at the same time also means that our willpower has to be multitrack — and thus is is quickly used up. In the end, we don’t get anywhere.
“There’s nothing to be said against changing several habits,” Schuster said. “The important thing is to take things one step at a time.”
2. It must be fun
So now we have to pick a resolution to focus on. But which? They’re all reasonable and sensible, after all. The answer sounds simple: “It must be fun. We need a positive approach to the change we want to make,” Schuster said.
“I have to stop smoking” and “I want to stop smoking” may differ only marginally in terms of language. From a psychological point of view, however, it is crucial for the long-term success of a project whether we have to, or want to, do something.
3. Remain realistic
People who spent most of their free time lying on the couch in 2021 and have now made a plan to go jogging for an hour four times a week in 2022 are setting the bar extremely high. Most likely too high.
A proven couch potato should be satisfied if they manage to get up twice a week. Even if it’s only for half an hour. “Regularity is more important than duration and intensity,” Schuster said. After all, the point is to establish sport as a new habit. Those who don’t immediately overtax themselves to the point of exhaustion also have a better chance of retaining the fun (see point 3), and thus also their good intentions.
4. Be accountable
The resolution has been selected and has taken shape. “Now it may be helpful to tell a few people about it,” says the psychologist. Because it strengthens the commitment and provides accountability. A promise that we make alone in a quiet little room is broken more quickly than one we make out loud.
5. Do not despair
Even if we manage to stick to our best intentions entering 2022, our motivation may eventually suffer — or we may experience cravings for, …….