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How to stick to your New Year’s resolution

Sticking to your New Year’s resolution can often seem like an impossible task. 

But receiving a compliment is the best way to stay motivated – especially if you want to shed those pounds from your waistline, a psychologist claims.

Dr Becky Spelman, who works on Harley Street, says being told you’re ‘good-looking’ will spur you on to change your diet and visit the gym.

However, being told you’re ‘super-hot’ will achieve better results because it’s not something that you will hear everyday, she believes. 

Receiving a compliment is the best way to stay motivated – especially if you want to shed those pounds from your waistline, a psychologist claims

Dr Spelman, a member of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, said: ‘Research shows positive feedback is far more useful compared to when poor performance is pointed out.

‘When it comes to getting fit, losing weight, or focusing on our health, positive feedback is more useful than a set of numbers from an electronic device.

‘Hearing we are looking good from people we care about, and the time and effort we have invested in our health are bearing fruit, actually spurs us on to do even more.’

Dr Spelman’s comments mirror the findings of a survey which showed that receiving compliments can help adults stick to their goals.

The poll, commissioned by Superdrug, was undertaken on 2,000 Britons. As well as questions, respondents were asked to listen to audio clips.


With a new year upon us, many of us will be busy setting goals and resolutions that we want to achieve in the 12 months ahead.

And yesterday, a lifestyle guru has revealed the one word we should all avoid if we want to achieve success this year.

Erin Falconer, who is based in Los Angeles, says we need to ban the word ‘should’ from our vocabularies, as it’s holding us back.

She explains that the word has an ‘open-endedness’ about it, and is often associated with ‘guilt and shame’ about what you’re not doing.

Writing her new book How to Get S*** Done, extracted on Well + Good, Erin says: ‘Not only does should suggest things are still up in the air, it’s almost always a negative. 

It revealed that 60 per cent of adults believe receiving a compliment is the best way for them to stay motivated with their New Year goals. 

The quiz also showed that the tone of a compliment and how heavily laden it is with adjectives also plays an important role in encouraging others.

Dr Spelman, a Superdrug ambassador, added: ‘Colloquial language is likely to have a bigger impact than technical, as it is more likely to appeal to our emotions. 

‘Hearing someone you care about say, “You’re looking super-hot today!” resonates more than a straightforward, “You’re good-looking.” 

‘The words suggest that our friend is having a visceral, emotional response to our appearance, and our reaction is likely to mirror that response.’

The survey also revealed that a quarter of adults give compliments because they believe they can help motivate those they care about.

Figures suggest a third of Britons make a New Year’s resolution every year. 

It is unsure how many people keep to them, but a Bristol University study in 2007 discovered that 88 per cent fail to stick to them.

The most common ones revolve around losing weight, giving up smoking, sorting out finances and learning a new language.