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IU psychology professor offers insight on committing to New Year’s resolutions

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Many people will make a New Year’s resolution, but there there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to commit to staying on course and improving yourself.

Dr. Edward Hirt, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, has a few tips and tricks on how to make a New Year’s resolution stick.

Studies have shown that those who make New Year’s resolutions can successfully keep their commitment to their plans.

However, after a week to six months into the new year, the percentage of people who are still committed drops significantly, according to a 2016 study by The Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers found that of the 41% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, by the end of the year, less than 10% felt they were successful in keeping their resolutions.

So, whether you want to stick to a workout routine, spend more time with your family, or read more, you should self-reflect on how to accomplish those goals. That’s the first step, according to Hirt.

Hirt says it all starts with these questions: “How important is the goal, and how committed are you to achieving it?”

Hirt says there are some things we can do to remain motivated. He believes people should focus on one important goal instead of trying to do everything, then plan to find ways to turn their goal into a habit. He also says the process to achieve New Year’s resolutions depends on making the goal a part of your everyday life.

According to Hirt, the way people view their New Year’s resolutions plays a significant role in how effective they are at achieving them.

Instead of seeing these goals as insurmountable challenges, Hirt says people should understand that it’s a process. He suggests breaking goals into smaller stages over time.

“If we can break down the goal pursuit process into substages or sub-goals along the way, see ourselves meeting those things, and take pride in accomplishing those pieces of the larger process, it is much more reinforcing to us,” Hirt said.

Hirt also says people increase their chances of staying committed to resolutions that make them happy instead of ones that appease others because it’s harder to stick with them. He says self-motivation comes more naturally when someone personally cares about the goal.

“It keeps us more engaged and positive about ourselves and about the likelihood that we are going to ultimately continue and attain those larger goals we may build upon,” Hirt said.