New year’s resolutions die at the end of January

Expat: new year’s resolutions and self-efficacy

We are at the end of January so how have the new year’s resolutions ended up after the holidays? Now back with a fair old load and good will, you had committed yourself to learning the language of the country where you live better, go on a diet, practice physical activity on a regular basis, take up that project once again that you have kept stowed away in a drawer for years and you know that the time has come to do it...

One month later, where are you at? How is your level of motivation?

Unfortunately, it happens quite often that three/four weeks later, our energy starts to decline and, despite our best intentions, unexpected events steer us away from the objectives that we had set. Life abroad is full of continuous challenges and it is easy to get lost in the attempt to solve momentary problems. All too quickly we fall back into old habits, ready to remake good resolutions on the first occasion, something that generally happens with the return to the summer holidays!

During individual sessions with my clients, I often have to deal with the myth of the “miraculous change”. There are no secret recipes or magic wands to help us meet our new year’s resolutions. Behind each change lie:

  • Discipline

  • Patience

  • Effort

You can do nothing else but accept it. And each road ahead is slow and uneven, you might take two steps forward and one step back, like a crab, you feel like nothing is changing but then, suddenly, everything changes.

How can you manage to keep focused on the new year’s resolutions at the start of the year and not let them vanish over time?
The answer lies in cultivating your own self-efficacy. The psychologist, Albert Bandura, defines self-efficacy as: "The conviction of being able to be successful or of failing in a performance".

With a low level of faith in self-efficacy, avoidance behaviour and low performance rates or failure often coincide, whereas a person with a high level of self-efficacy has a good chance of achieving satisfactory results.

What are the 4 factors that influence our self-efficacy?

  • The experience of success

    Many small, repeated victories over time increase your belief in self-efficacy and your perseverance, far more than a big success echoed in headlines. In this regard, it is essential to define some daily/weekly/monthly micro-objectives, focusing your energies on them, rather than setting your sights on a big objective that makes you feel like having to climb Everest in one go and with no training.

  • Vicarious experience

    With this term, Albert Bandura understands the fact that observing people successfully carrying out a given task can increase your self-efficacy by reflection. This involves choosing specific reference models: people who, based on similar suppositions to your own have succeeded in meeting objectives comparable with those that you have set yourself. Analysing their strategies, their specific actions, trying to come into contact with them and, generally speaking, allowing oneself to become inspired, can by highly productive.

  • Social persuasion

    In one of my previous articles, "You can judge a man by the company he keeps, abroad too!", I referred back to Jim Rohn’s concept in which “You are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with”. If you want to improve your self-efficacy, learn to surround yourself with positive, enterprising people, by those who support and stimulate you in order to be the best version of yourself.

  • Physiological and emotive states

    A high level of self-efficacy is also based on the capacity to find yourself in the appropriate state of mind when you need to deal with challenges. Being stressed does not help to reach objectives. In this case, it is essential to work on your interior dialogue, to learn how to transform a negative state into a positive one. For instance, learning to consider stress as creative tension, because it is precisely thanks to that tension that we manage to give the best of ourselves.

Read the articles on Expats and the world of Intercultural Mind

Coaching sessions can be held in Italian, French, Spanish, German and English.
Write to Erika Bezzo for any information regarding ChangeXperience services