New Year’s Resolutions Can Work
Some people take their New Year’s resolutions seriously while others do not. Interestingly enough, we get our New Year’s resolutions from ancient traditions. The Romans would pray to the god Janus and promise better behavior in the year to come. The Babylonians would pledge to return the items they borrowed and pay the debts they owed at the beginning of a new year.
Today, we view New Year’s Eve as a fresh start to make resolutions for self-improvement, whether that means achieving a new goal, working out more, or quitting a bad habit. But are New Year’s resolutions effective at getting sober?
According to one study on Medical News Today, “77% (of people) managed to hold to their pledges for 1 week, but the success rate dropped to 19% over 2 years. That means 1 in 5 of those participants achieved their goal. Of the 77% successful resolvers, more than half slipped at least once, and, on average, people slipped 14 times across the 2 years.”
The success rate of these individuals had nothing to do with their age, gender, or the resolution they picked. The major takeaway from the study is that people can succeed in keeping their resolutions, but it takes self-motivation.
Using Stimulus Control Therapy
In that same study, the individuals who used stimulus controls continually succeeded in their resolution throughout all the checkpoints. Stimulus control therapy is when the presence or absence of visual objects changes and influences a person’s behavior. Specifically, if you are attempting to stop taking drugs, you might surround yourself with stimulus reminders of why you want to stop using. Pictures of your family, quotes, scriptures, or a picture of yourself at your healthiest can all help remind you why you want to stop.
Stimulus control is a good tool to use when starting your New Year’s resolution. A constant reminder can help propel you each day. This could be something you bring up in treatment and ask for advice on. Finding out what object could motivate you into staying sober could be another variable in producing a positive outcome. Stimulus control won’t get you there on its own, but it is an early recovery skill worth trying alongside your treatment and other motivators.