The new year is right around the corner and with it, resolutions. Though one recent study finds that only 8 percent of resolutions are kept, almost half of Americans start the year with these goals in mind. How can we bump up the odds in our favor? A plethora of suggestions exist, from visualizing to being held accountable. One tactic that pops up again and again (albeit in various forms) is the snowball effect: start small and slowly build your way up.
Why does this work? Financial guru Dave Ramsey applies the snowball effect to his get-out-of-debt plan, explaining that the process is 80 percent mental. Seeing the small rewards gains emotional momentum and encouragement. Benchmarking small successes keep us motivated enough to keep working towards the bigger picture.
Exercise and weight loss are a similar beast. A new exercise regime starts out slow and difficult, but as the pounds shed the body is able to exercise for longer periods, and longer exercise periods lead to further weight loss. Want to get organized this year? Start with one kitchen drawer.
Psychologists have noted that the biggest reason our resolutions fail is unrealistic goal setting and the backfiring effects that come with it. So stay motivated with realistic baby steps and celebrate even small achievements–it may seem silly in the moment, but it’s the surest way to be celebrating large by next December.