New Year’s resolutions survival guide

Studies show that 80% of people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions. That’s a lot, but you want to be in the top 20% of people don’t you? Read our guide.

New Year resolutions are a chance to improve our lives, yet research shows most people start with the best of intentions …. that have fallen off a cliff six weeks in.

‘Strike while the iron is hot’
One of the reasons psychologists think people don’t achieve their resolutions is they overthink it, making it seem like a huge thing to accomplish. The more this goes on, the less likely people are to achieve what they set out to do – they go from an enthusiastic, dedicated, ‘new year, new me’ mindset, to slowly deciding maybe I’ll just sit in front of the TV.

The solution? Strike while the iron is hot (an English phrase meaning to do something while there is passion, enthusiasm and fire in your belly for it!). Take that first small step straight away in the new year. Find a course that relates to your resolution and get yourself booked in, while you are fired up to achieve your new life.

Ban the word ‘should’
Author and lifestyle coach, Erin Falconer, recommends banning the word ‘should’. Language really does influences us and what we tell ourselves matters. Try the swap: “I should learn a new language” to “I am going to learn English this year. I’m excited about learning in London and all the possibilities this will open up for me”. Think about why you want to achieve your resolution and what it will be like when you do: don’t let your brain see your resolution as optional, grab life with both hands!

Enjoy yourself – yes really!
A study published in the journal Personality and Sociology Psychology Bulletin by researchers from Cornell University and the University of Chicago, found people thought what mattered was how important their resolution was, but actually the only thing that mattered in whether a person kept their New Year resolutions was the enjoyment factor. If people get rewards from their new habits, they are more likely to stick to them.

What you will enjoy by learning, or becoming fluent, in another language:

1. You will be smarter
Learning a new language actually changes your brain! It challenges it and improves its functionality, including problem-solving. People that learn languages perform better on all kinds of tests, including maths.

2. You will further your career
Speaking more than one language can give you a clear advantage in the job market. CNN Money named bilingualism the hottest skill for job seekers. Reports show bilingual people earn up to 20% more than people who speak one language. People are citizens of the world in today’s connected globe and languages are in demand in every industry.

3. You will keep your brain healthy
Studies show the brains of people who speak multiple languages are healthier and more active much further into older age, compared to people that only speak one language.

4. Your memory will improve
The brain works better the more it is challenged: like a muscle with frequent exercise. Learning a language involves memory and studies show this increases memory for other aspects of your life too.

5. You will be more observant
A study from Spain’s University of Pompeu Fabra found that multilingual people are better at observing their surroundings and people, focusing on relevant information and filtering out irrelevant information.

6. Your attention span will increase
A study in the journal Brain and Language, found people who learn another language are better at concentrating on what they’re doing and are better able to block out distractions. Good news for both a successful life and career!

7. You will improve your first language too
Learning a new language often involves seeing your native language in new ways. You will be more aware of language as a whole: how it’s structured and how it is used. You will become an excellent communicator.

8. You will be better at decision-making
A study from the University of Chicago, found people who speak more than one language make more rational decisions. In all languages how you say something greatly influences how it is received by others (in English we are very concerned with being polite and rarely say things in a direct manner!). Being able to think and view what is being said in a second language helps examine and ‘sense check’ situations.

9. You will be a better listener
People who can speak multiple language become skilled at distinguishing meaning from discreet sounds and this skill will make you a better listener, able to focus on the important information.

10. You will be able to travel and experience other cultures
Being able to speak the language is a huge plus for short or long stays in other countries. You can visit more places and experience more while you are there. Speaking more than one language means you could travel in your career too.

Did you know? The number of native English speakers is 371 million, but the number of non-native English speakers is 611 million. That’s 983 million people for you to talk to, learn from, work with and be friends with!

There is nothing to lose and everything to gain in 2020. You are never too young to have a ‘bucket list’ and never too old to achieve something on it.

You can take learning a language one word at a time, in a supportive environment with new international friends, and experience London. That’s two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions – learning a new language and travelling more – covered in one mind-blowingly-positive first act of the new year!

We have courses to suit all ages, interests and abilities. Have a look around at or contact our friendly sales team who are always happy to help you.

IH London teaches English for young learners (ages 7-17), English for adults (ages 16+), English for professionals (age 21+), other modern languages, and there are evening classes available if you are already in London.

Our sales team can speak many languages, so you can discuss in your own language and they can talk to you about the benefits of speaking multiple languages! | +44 (0) 20 7611 2400 | Book online | Meet the sales team

Article references:

If you’re serious about keeping your New Year resolutions, ban the word ‘should’

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