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Reduce stress; make a plan

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New Year’s resolutions can be a good opportunity to assess the past, make plans for future improvement and then stress out about your inability to get it done. When making your resolutions this year, resolve to make a realistic plan toward achieving those goals and give yourself a break. You will be more likely to succeed according to a Wake Forest University psychology professor.

Assistant Professor EJ Masicampo found that committing to a plan to accomplish the goal makes it more likely to be done and also relieves your mind from thinking about it. “Once a plan is made, we can stop thinking about that one goal,” says Masicampo. “This frees our minds to focus on other tasks or simply enjoy the current moment.” He went further, “The ones that work specify exactly what you are going to do, including when and where you are going to do it.”

These are the recommended essential elements of an attainable plan:
- Specify what you are going to do, where and when.
- It must be under your control.
- Include specific opportunities to meet the goal and anticipate likely situations.
- Focus on a goal you are really likely to stay motivated to accomplish.

Most importantly he says, “You have to picture yourself carrying out your plan. That’ where the power of the plans lie, in imagining yourself completing the tasks.” He says it’s perfectly acceptable to break down a goal into several smaller goals. This makes it less overwhelming and provides a sense of success at each step along the way.

Source: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, MedicalNewsToday

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