Making Better Resolutions

Making Better Resolutions

Duration: 5 minutes

Since it’s the new year a lot of us are going to try and stick to a new year’s resolution. But easier said than done, right? A staggering 80% of people say they don’t keep their resolutions past February.[1] Something is clearly amiss. We wanted to change new year’s resolutions into something a little less daunting, so in this article we get into:

  • Some common mistakes to avoid when making your new year’s resolutions
  • The psychology behind healthy habit building
  • The latest research on how to make a new habit
  • Keeping a new year’s resolution is very significant in Japanese culture and is known as Kakizome.

An ancient tradition that dates back to 794-1192 AD, Kakizome is common practice for young and old alike all over Japan during the new year celebrations.[2] It involves writing a word that defines your new year’s vow on calligraphy paper, meditating on the intention of what is being written, all the while envisioning positive thoughts for the year to come, as well as hope that the written resolution will manifest itself sometime in the year.

Understanding why we’re keeping our resolution, who we’re doing it for and what we will do to achieve this goal is very important for overall success. It’s essentially envisioning a plan of action. And for any long-term commitment, you need some sort of plan and a way to measure success.

Why Is It Hard To Keep New Years Resolutions?

The most common mistakes we make are:

The resolution is too vague: it’s perhaps not enough to commit to “being healthier in 2020”. Define your resolution. Something like “lose 10 pounds by 1st April” or “drink a glass of OSU daily” will help you know exactly what you’re shooting for.

Not enjoying the process: if your goal is to lose weight but you hate getting on the treadmill, it’s very likely you’re not going to stick to your goal for very long. Try to make your resolution as fun as possible. You can maybe go to the gym with a friend, or choose an activity you like, like a spin class or hot yoga.

There are so many options so really have a think about how you can make this process something you might even look forward to:

Not tracking progress: all it takes is a pen and paper. Write down the exercises you’re doing, how many repetitions, track your weight, anything that can help you see how well you’re doing. When you’re feeling particularly lazy, looking at where you started from can be the push you need to keep moving forward.

Not giving your resolution time to become a habit: positive habit building has been broken down to a science, and success in keeping your resolution lies in finding out more about habits, both good and bad.

The problem is we have a tendency to look for quick fixes[3] when it comes to our goals, and when we don’t get them, we lose faith in the process and abandon it. A new year’s resolution needs time and perseverance. Developing a positive habit associated with your resolution and making it part of your routine is the best way to stick to your goals.

How To Form Better Habits

According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Psychology, it takes 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. And it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. That means you’re probably looking at steady work for most of the year to make sure your new resolution sticks with you for the long run. However, the study also concluded there are many variables attached to these numbers.[4]

Some habits are easier to form than others. For example, it’s easier to drink a glass of water in the morning than it is to do 50 push-ups before breakfast daily. Choose your habit knowing your own limitations and what you are most likely to follow through with. And of course, if you do plan on drinking a glass of water for breakfast every day, make sure you add 20 ml of ACV to get in on some of the benefits people claim with apple cider vinegar [5].

So how can we form healthy habits? According to Professor Wendy Woods, author of Good Habits, Bad Habits, the key is in understanding that habits are shaped by what you do, rather than what you think. What does that mean? That your actions in the context of your new year’s resolutions will ultimately determine your success in keeping them. Professor Wendy Woods believes 3 hacks are all it takes to reinforce positive habits[6]:

Control your context: context, in this case, would mean everything in the world surrounding you, except yourself.[7] Your location, the people you meet, the time of day, it all falls under context. If your resolution is to eat better meals, you would need to keep yourself away from fast food, perhaps ask a co-worker to accompany you on your journey and eat healthy meals at lunch together. Or prep healthy meals before-hand so you have options at home and aren’t tempted by unhealthy snacks. You are basically surrounding yourself with all the things that promote the habit you are trying to form because ultimately, our actions are determined by our environment.

Repeat, repeat, repeat: a habit is based on consistency, so that whenever you’re in the same context your brain automatically takes over and you complete the desired action, in this case: your resolution. It’s like when you sit in your car and automatically reach for the seat belt. You have done it a thousand times before so you don’t even have to think about it. Your brain loves these automatic processes because they are efficient and save processing power for other things, so your body is naturally geared towards automation[8]. It just takes time and practice.

Treat yourself: any repeated act will lose its appeal eventually. That’s also why so many of us abandon our resolutions so fast. To counter this, it’s important to keep treating each act that goes towards promoting your resolution. To have a role in habit formation your rewards need to be bigger and better than what you normally experience because unexpected rewards trigger dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical that gives you pleasure and it is essential in forming habits, good or bad. So, the next time you go for a run give yourself a treat by taking time to pamper yourself right after. Maybe take a nice, leisurely bath. Your brain will remember the dopamine release the next time you go for a run, and now your brain is working with you, not against you!

Team OSU’s New Year Resolution Challenge  

We at Team OSU are not one’s to talk the talk if we can’t walk the walk! That’s why we have made our own new year’s resolution: to incorporate OSU in our lives and use the techniques listed above to form positive habits. Most of us are starting with something easy, like having a glass of OSU in water every day, spending more time with friends and family or meditating for 10 minutes. Get your bottle of our ACV OSU Original or Blueberry & Pomegranate bottle today.



Apple Cider Vinegar & Apple Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar & Apple Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar & Apple Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar & Apple Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar & Apple Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar & Apple Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar & Apple Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar & Apple Juice
500ml £7.50

Regular price
We use 200 years of Japanese craft to blend 100% natural apple juice with apple cider vinegar for a smoother taste. Our apple cider vinegar is always raw, unpasteurised and with the Mother.

Concentrated Apple Juice (56%), Apple Cider Vinegar (44%), All Natural!

Typical Values per 100g- Energy: 774 kJ/182 kcals, Fat: <0.5g, of which Saturates: 0.1g, Carbohydrates: 39.9g, of which Sugars: 36.4g, Fibre: 0.6, Protein: <0.5g, Salt: <0.01g

Make like the Japanese and drink in the traditional fashion through diluting 1 part (20ml) OSU with 9 parts of still, sparkling or hot water. New to drinking apple cider vinegar? Why not try one of our fruity drinks recipes to acclimatise you to the taste?

We believe OSU should be every foodie's kitchen staple! Need inspiration for how to add plant based flavour to your salad dressings, marinades and dips? Experiment with our quick and easy recipes for mid week meals.

Want more advice on the best times and methods to consume apple cider vinegar? We've assembled best practice in a series of articles and have answered your questions in our FAQs.