How to Succeed at Your New Year’s Resolutions

By Kaitlyn Bailey, MSc University of British Columbia

Self- efficacy works the same way regardless of what behaviour you’re trying to change. If you aren’t very confident that you can bike to work everyday of the week, you probably won’t change your behaviour to bike to work everyday. If you aren’t confident that you can stop eating sugar, you probably won’t stop eating sugar.

How frustrating right!? The biggest thing holding you back is that you don’t think you can do it.

So, how do you increase your confidence? The best way to increase your confidence is to just do it, and show yourself that you can. If you work towards being able to bike to work everyday for a week, you will feel a lot more confident that you can do it again. Or, if you’re successful at not eating sugar for a week, you will be more confident that you can go sugarless for another week.

If starting out “all in” is too much, one way to increase your self-efficacy is to start small. Instead of trying to bike to work everyday of the week, you can start with just one day. First prove to yourself that you can do it, and then add another day.

If this doesn’t work you can try to increase your confidence by using a proxy. Find someone who is relatable or is in a similar situation to you and who has accomplished what you are trying to accomplish. The old “if she/he can do it, I can do it too” mentality. The Internet is great for this, as there are people all over the world making changes and documenting them on the Internet. This strategy works even better though if you know someone personally. Is there someone in your office who bikes to work everyday? If you are a parent trying to make a change, find another parent that has been successful with a similar goal. The more you can relate to them the better this will work.

It is still mind-boggling to me that one of the greatest things holding me back from reaching my resolution is not believing I can do it. So this year let me be the one that tells you, YOU CAN! Cheer on your friends, and family and let them know that you believe in them too! Let’s make this the year that we succeed at our resolutions.

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