Effective New Year’s resolutions actually begin before January 1, when successful resolvers take the time to “psych and prep,” Norcross said.
“People need to make realistic, attainable goals,” Norcross said. “They need to develop a specific action plan about what they are going to do differently to deal with the habits they want to counter.”
The other aspects of “psych and prep” are to publicly declare your resolution and to believe that you can overcome your challenges, Norcross wrote.
“Establish genuine confidence that you can keep the resolution despite the occasional slip,” Norcross added. “Self-efficacy is potent predictor of who succeeds in the New Year.”
Once the New Year begins, resolvers need to track their progress and cultivate a network of people to support their efforts to change, he added.
Develop a Community of Support
Fortunately, as believers, Christians often have a community of people in the church who can help them stay true to their commitments to themselves, their families and to God, said Lester Wolfe, an elder at the West Broward Church of Christ in Plantation.
“Having a strong faith community is one of the most important things,” Wolfe said. “Even two are better than one,” Wolfe said.
Although just making a resolution doesn’t guarantee success, it is an important first step, said Dr. Isadore Newman, a member of the editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Christian Leadership and a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Akron, in Ohio.
“A resolution makes a person self-aware and provides some direction about the way they want to go,” said Newman. “Unfortunately most people don’t get support to help them and so for them, New Year’s resolutions don’t help. Also, resolutions are meaningless if they are terminated shortly after they are made,” Newman said. “Action is sparked and resolutions achieved if they are repeated two or three times a day and visualized.”
Dr. Steve J. Rios owns Rios Research & Evaluation and co-founded Florida Reach, a state-wide network of education and child welfare professionals that promotes post-secondary success for emerging adults from foster care. He can be reached at [email protected].