January 3, 2019

This year, I resolve to … stick to my resolutions. Maybe.

Foti resolutions New resolutions can be hard to keep unless you do some planning. (Stock Photo).

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Eat healthier. Exercise more. Quit smoking. Lose weight. Watch less television.

As we welcome 2019, most of us will make a resolution to improve our lives.

But how can we stick to it?

Dan Foti, an associate professor of clinical psychology and neuroscience who studies changes in human brain function and moods at Purdue University’s Department of Psychological Sciences, can tell us more about how we can reach our goals.

Foti also shares his advice as part of Purdue’s College of Health and Human Sciences video series with various experts on how to make 2019 the year of change and personal growth.

It can be a challenge to keep those resolutions, even when one begins struggling. Foti suggests breaking down the resolution into a small-term goal.

“‘How can I break that down into what’s my goal for today? What’s my goal for the next three days? What’s my goal for this week?’” And then also taking the time to give myself credit if I meet that goal for today rather than waiting to reward myself until I achieve that final long-term goal,” Foti said.

Foti said a shift in perspective is also important to making resolutions stick. One should look at it less as a behavior change to more of the establishment of a new routine, habit or pattern that can be sustained. Habits take weeks to form, so it will take some effort and planning for those first few weeks. It gets much easier once those behaviors get integrated within our daily routines.

“We form those habits all of the time. We all have habits right now. Some of them are working for us, and some of them are not working for us, but breaking it down step by step can help,” Foti said. “Some habits include parking your car far away from a store entrance so you can get more steps, or adding a side of vegetables or a piece of fruit at a meal, or setting regular sleep/wake times and sticking to them all week long.”

The College of Health and Human Sciences’ research aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, acknowledging the university’s global advancements made in health, longevity and quality of life as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. This is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

Writer: Matthew Oates, 765-496-2571, oatesw@purdue.edu 

Source: Denise Buhrmeister, 765-496-3663, dmbuhrmester@purdue.edu

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