Being stressed, wasting money, hanging on your cell phone too often – according to a survey in the new year, many Germans no longer want that. The author and psychologist Stefanie Stahl gives tips to turn good resolutions into habits.

So, what resolutions have you made for the new year? Finally quitting smoking, more sport or a healthier diet are among the classics. But the time of crisis is also noticeable in the resolutions of the Germans, as a survey commissioned by DAK-Gesundheit shows.

Less stress – this wish for the New Year is more widespread than ever. 67 percent of respondents said they want to avoid or reduce stress in 2023. In the also representative surveys of the previous years since 2011, this value had fluctuated around 60 percent.

The second most important resolution for 2023 is the desire to spend more time with family and friends and to behave in a more environmentally and climate-friendly manner. 64 percent of those surveyed by the opinion research institute Forsa said so.

Particularly popular resolutions are doing more sport (61 percent), taking more time for yourself (54) and eating healthier (53). Significantly more people than in the previous year announced their intention to live more economically. 40 percent of those surveyed – 11 percentage points more than in 2021 – said they wanted to tighten their belts.

Only about one in three respondents wants to eat less meat (34), lose weight (33) and spend less time on their cell phone or computer (31) in 2023. Watching less TV (20), drinking less (16) and quitting smoking (9) are at the bottom of the list of popular resolutions.

How can that work? Things that you intend to do should best be incorporated into your everyday routine, said the psychologist and bestselling author Stefanie Stahl (“The child in you must find a home”, “Who we are – how we perceive, feel and love”) of the Germans press agency.

An example: Always jogging on the same day at the same time. However, it is more difficult with activities that one wants to refrain from – such as smoking. “If I go jogging twice a week, it’s limited in time. But no more smoking, I have that 24 hours a day and seven days a week.” These are then “small decisions that are made again and again” – and that costs more energy. The big advantage of “the omission things” is that the brain got used to it at some point. “And then it doesn’t cost any more energy,” said Stahl.

Stahl also recommends “not taking too big steps” when making resolutions. In her opinion, however, many New Year’s resolutions are doomed to failure: “Because they are decided far too rationally and don’t really come from within,” said Stahl. “Because if they’re really coming from within then I don’t need an anniversary and I don’t wait until January 1st. Then I can start right away.”

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