Diane Rochford: New Year, New Opportunities

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BSDHT President Diane Rochford: The four reasons New Year resolutions fail

BSDHT President Diane Rochford asks, why don’t New Year resolutions stick?

So often in the New Year we set resolutions that we hope will lead to a happier, healthier future. We might aim to exercise more, eat more fruit and vegetables or take a step forward in our career – our resolutions are always born from the best intentions.

However, statistics show that people, in general, are not very good at following through with these plans. In fact, 75% of us abandon our resolutions within the first 30 days, and only 8% manage to fully accomplish them in the long-term.

But why should this be the case?

There are generally thought to be four core reasons why resolutions don’t stick, which are a blend of how we approach our resolutions and the psychology behind them.

The first of these is that we often set ourselves unrealistic challenges. For example, say one of your resolutions is to eat more healthily, but instantly cutting out all sugary and high fat foods is a difficult adjustment, and because of this it’s more likely that you will stray from your good intentions and cave in to temptation. Strike one!

Second reason, resolutions can also fail through lack of planning. Imagine that you’ve decided that you want to exercise more regularly and get into a solid routine but you can’t find an effective way to integrate this exercise into your daily schedule. It’s inevitable that you won’t be able to fulfil your ambitions, and eventually, may even stop trying to do so. Strike two.

The third reason is more psychological. Put simply we don’t take the time to make the behavioural changes required to form a habit. Science suggests that it takes an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic, so if you stop working towards your resolutions before this time, it’s very likely that they won’t be achieved. Strike three.

The final reason is through lack of support. Making big changes to your lifestyle can be challenging, and if there is no one to help you stay on the right path during tough times, it’s very easy to abandon your new behaviours and fall back into those that you’ve grown accustomed to. This is particularly true with things such as stopping smoking or reducing your alcohol intake – it’s all too simple to lose drive if there’s no one beside you helping you to quit. Strike four.

What can you do to ensure your resolutions stick?

Perhaps the most important thing we can do is approach our resolutions differently. Setting solid goals rather than vague resolutions is definitely a wise move. This gives you something concrete to work towards as opposed to an unspecified notion.

For instance, if you want to lose weight you should set a goal amount of weight that you want to lose and work towards it through a combination of exercise and better eating. By putting a solid number out there that you want to achieve, you can clarify and enhance your motivation. Setting a target provides a specific goal to work towards which is so much stronger than a vague desire to ‘lose weight’.

This approach can be applied to any resolution and makes a big difference – whether that’s aiming to eat a greater number of portions of fruit and vegetables each day, to scheduling your self-care and making sure that you do your daily yoga – setting solid yet achievable goals is much more likely to get results.

Support is also a huge factor in achieving any goals, especially in your career. The team behind the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is committed to helping its members to achieve their career goals and beyond.

As a close-knit society of like-minded professionals, the BSDHT not only equips our members with the resources they need to expand and explore new professional opportunities, but also provides someone to turn to if they need any support and advice in other areas of their lives.

Through accessible helplines and professional advice, the Society reaches out a helping hand for every member and is the perfect springboard for those looking to branch out into new areas – as well as those who need a foundation from which to achieve their resolutions.

So, why not use 2022 to make some positive changes? By assessing how you make resolutions, making proper plans and getting support from others, you will have all of the ingredients you need to succeed.

For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk call 01788 575050, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.