Resolution(s) for the New Year?

Posted: Jan 5, 2016 in January 2016

John Norcross, a Psychologist working in the field of behaviour change for the past 30 years, lays out the 5 P’s in his book Changeology.


  1. Psych is the first stage. This phase is about laying out your goal in SMART terms. Ask yourself, are my goals SMART?








Start tracking your behaviours to get a better understanding of frequency, precipitants, motivation.


  1. Prep is the second stage. In this stage you begin planning and practicing the new behaviour(s).


  1. Perspire is the third stage. Research has demonstrated that it’s not willpower that separates out the successful resolvers from the unsuccessful.  Instead, it is a series of learned skills. One of these skills involves mastering alternative behaviours. A second skill lies in rewarding successes and not rewarding failures. Research shows that this is one of the most successful strategies for bringing about change. Indeed, our environment can help or hinder our behaviour.  


  1. Persevere is the fourth stage. This is about appreciating that things don’t always go 100% perfectly; there will be challenges and slips. Norcross’ research shows that “71% of resolvers said that their first slip strengthened their desire to change. It’s an erroneous belief that slips lead inevitably into falls.” As such, it is important to be prepared with a strategy in place to get back on track when things don’t go 100% according to plan.


  1. Persist is the fifth stage. Here, the author emphasizes supportive relationships. Research shows that most people are highly motivated at the outset and can make changes without much help.  However, a few weeks into the New Year is when support becomes integral to success.