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Psychological Approach to New Year's Resolutions - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Psychological Approach to New Year's Resolutions

Posted: Updated: Dec 31, 2012 12:17 AM EST

It's that time of year again, when a lot of us are asking ourselves what we want to achieve in the new year. But University of Virginia psychologist Brian Nosek says that's not the question we should be asking.

Nosek has some tips on how to achieve the goals we set for ourselves in 2013. Since fitness is a common resolution, Nosek used that as an example.

"Instead of losing weight, it might be more specific, like losing 20 pounds," Nosek said.

Nosek then recommended breaking the resolution down into subgoals.

"Besides just losing 20 pounds I need to figure out what are the steps that I need to do to get there," he said.

He recommends making implementation intentions and deciding how and when you'll work toward your goal.

"I could say I want to exercise more, but I'm much more likely to do it if I decide every day when I get home on Monday Wednesday and Friday, I'm going to go on the treadmill," Nosek said.

It's also recommended that you turn a big, long-term goal into a series of smaller short-term goals, so it doesn't take so long to feel like you're succeeding.

"Break the goal into bits and give yourself reinforcement along the way," Nosek said. "So if my goal is to lose 20 pounds, then I should find something to reward myself after every two or three pounds that I lose."

Lastly, Nosek says to be mindful of the goal you set. Know the difference between an aspirational goal, which brings along the possible disappointment of failing, versus a realistic goal that is accomplishable.

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