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Posted by: Dental Design 8th January 2022
So often when we come to New Year, we set resolutions with the dream that they will lead to a happier, healthier future. Whether this is aiming to exercise more, trying to eat higher quantities of fruit and vegetables or taking a step forward in your career – our resolutions are always born from the best intentions.
However, statistics show that people, in general, are not very good at following through with these plans. In fact, 75% of individuals abandon their resolutions within the first 30 days, and only 8% manage to fully accomplish them in the long-term.[i]
But why is this the case?
The reasons why we can’t keep to resolutions
There are generally thought to be four core reasons why resolutions don’t stick, all of which are a blend of how we approach resolutions and the psychology behind them.[ii]
The first of these is that we often set ourselves unrealistic challenges. For example, say one of your resolutions is to eat more healthily – instantly cutting out all sugary and high fat foods is a difficult adjustment, and because of this it’s more likely that you will stray from your good intentions and cave in to temptation.
Another common reason that resolutions don’t last is through lack of planning. To put this into perspective, imagine that you’ve decided that you want to exercise more regularly and get into a solid routine. If you fail to come up with an effective way to integrate this exercise into your daily schedule, it’s inevitable that you won’t be able to fulfil your ambitions, and eventually, may even stop trying to do so.
The third reason is more psychological and concerns that idea of habits. Basically, a lot of resolutions fail because we don’t make the behavioural changes required to form a habit. Science suggests that it takes an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic,[iii] so if you stop working towards your resolutions before this time, it’s very likely that they won’t be achieved.
The final reason that resolutions fail is through lack of support. Making big changes to your lifestyle can be challenging, and if there is no one to help you keep on the right path during tough times, it’s very easy to abandon your new behaviours and fall back into those that you’ve grown accustomed to. This is particularly true with resolutions that concern giving up things such as smoking or alcohol – it’s all too simple to lose drive if there’s no one beside you helping you to quit.
So, what can you do to ensure that your resolutions stick?
Adjust your approach
Perhaps the most important thing we can do is approach our resolutions differently. Setting solid goals rather than a vague resolution is definitely a wise move, as this gives you something concrete to work towards as opposed to an unspecified notion.
For instance, if one of your resolutions is to lose weight, the best approach is to set a goal amount of weight that you want to lose and work towards it through a combination of exercise and better eating. By putting a solid number out there that you want to achieve, you can have a clearer motivation than if you just want to lose an unspecified amount. This approach can be applied to all resolutions and makes a big difference – whether that’s aiming to eat a number of portions of fruit and vegetables each day, to even scheduling in your self-care and making sure that you do your daily yoga – making achievable goals is more likely to get results.
Here to support you
As previously mentioned, support is a huge part of reaching any goals, especially in your career. The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is committed to helping its members to achieve their career goals and beyond. As a close-knit Society of like-minded professionals, the BSDHT not only gives members the resources they need to expand and explore new professional opportunities, but also someone to turn to if they need any support and advice in other areas of their lives. Through accessible helplines and professional advice, the Society is a helping hand for every member and is the perfect springboard for those looking to branch out into new areas as well as those who need a foundation to achieve their resolutions.
Make 2022 your year
New Year means new opportunities, so why not use 2022 to make some positive changes? By assessing how you make resolutions, making proper plans and getting support from others, you will have all of the ingredients you need to succeed.
DIANE ROCHFORD – PRESIDENT BSDHT
CEB DIP DENT HYGIENE 1996, BSC (HONS) 2016
For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk
call 01788 575050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
[i] Forbes. This Year, Don’t Set New Year’s Resolutions. Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashiraprossack1/2018/12/31/goals-not-resolutions/?sh=19ebfa573879 [Last accessed October 21].
[ii] Forbes. Reasons Why We Don’t Achieve New Year’s Resolutions. Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennifercohen/2020/01/12/reasons-why-we-dont-achieve-resolutions/?sh=21c116c41a87 [Last accessed October 21].
[iii] Healthline. How Long Does It Take For A New Behaviour To Become Automatic? Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-form-a-habit#base-figure [Last accessed October 21].
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