New Year’s Resolution


First of all, Happy New Year to all the readers!

The New Year is a time for resolutions for the year ahead. I have written about this  previously in an article which links to reviews of the research literature on how to improve goal achievement.

From my own perspective, the study I have been most impressed by is this one by Professor Gail Matthews which shows the benefits of both writing and sharing goals.

Last year I decided to put the principles from this study into practice. Doctors typically recommend exercise to improve general health although this will of course depend on individual circumstances. The question that I wanted to answer was whether sharing goals would be of benefit. I should note that I have previously done regular exercise without sharing the goals so I know that was achievable but I hadn’t kept a record.

I put this into practice by simply tweeting that I would not tweet unless I had first done exercise. This means that my first tweet (with a few exceptions but always following exercise) is about exercise. Recommending exercise is easy enough but regular exercise occurs in the context of an appropriate psychological mindset.

What I found was that the default exercise was jogging as it’s fairly easy to do. Typically this would be about 20 minutes but a (very) few times it was just 10 minutes but that’s still better than nothing! Getting into the routine for the gym was very helpful for the strength training. This requires longer and I would usually combine it with the aerobic exercise using the treadmill or other aerobic activities. As the muscles require rest after strength training, alternate days tend to involve just the aerobic workout (upper and lower body strength training is usually combined in one session).

As time goes on and with expert instruction I have gradually built and varied the routine. My take on the New Year’s resolution which involve new activities is that it is the development of specialist skills and knowledge through habitual practice and reflection. New Year’s resolutions which involve stopping activities may be more effective if there is substitution of one action for another. This is the principle behind implementation intention.

There were times when I didn’t tweet but had still done exercise and other times when I didn’t exercise (e.g. illness).

This year’s resolution is to write a blog post before tweeting. So now there are two activities before tweeting.

Just two more points about goal sharing.

There is some research that suggests sharing goals might not be effective

In terms of my own experience described above, I have found sharing goals effective. However my experience differs from one of the studies described in the video above in that I am sharing results as they happen and tweeting activity is contingent on goal completion.

There are also many goal sharing websites or organisations that have emerged.

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here

Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link.

TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link.

Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail

Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Conflicts of Interest: *For potential conflicts of interest please see the About section.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s