Resilience Research Centre

Baby Boomers | Six Ways To Make New Year’s Resolutions Last

Baby Boomers | Six Ways To Make New Year’s Resolutions Last

This new year, before you commit to being healthier and happier, commit to changing the world around you first. Here are six examples of ways to ensure you keep your new year’s resolution:

1. Before you buy a gym membership, find someone else to buy one with you. Their commitment will motivate you to keep exercising, just as your commitment will make it more likely they’ll stick with their promise to change. Even if they eventually stop going, you’ll have jumpstarted a new lifestyle.

2. Before you sign up for yoga and accessorize yourself with the perfect mat and exercise pants, ask your spouse to take on extra chores at home, or change your schedule at work so you have the time you need for personal improvement. The more the people around you support the change you want to make, the more likely that change will stick. Not only will they help you find the time and resources you need to make a lifestyle change, when others see us as the person we want to become, the more likely we are to embrace a new, better, identity.

3. Think about where you shop. Food courts are full of tempting scents that few of us can resist. Packing a healthy lunch, or frequenting healthier restaurants can do much to maintain a reasonable diet. Likewise, if trips to the mall mean credit card debt, find a substitute place to hang out when you’re needing a little emotional boost. Putting ourselves in environments that help us make better choices are always easier than finding the motivation to resist temptations that are too close at hand.

4. Make at least one new friend. Our peers influence our eating and exercise habits. Making a new friend who behaves in ways you’ve promised yourself to behave (like eating healthily or spending more time with family) increases the odds that your new year’s resolution will stick.

5. Change how far you live from your workplace. If that isn’t possible, try using public transit instead of driving. Anything you can do to spend less time in a car is a sure-fire way to increase your number of steps without being at the mercy of wearable tech to remind you to walk more.

6. Make your bedroom a sanctuary of calm. Few or us sleep enough (that means at least 7 hours a night for adults without young children). Few of us, however, make our bedrooms places which promote good sleep hygiene. We bring our phones to bed, and then they ping all night long. Or we tolerate a snoring spouse. Maybe the cat keeps smothering us. Whatever the distraction, no amount of motivation for change is going to make our lives better if we are sleep deprived.

The better your world is at helping you make and sustain changes the more likely this January’s new year’s resolution is actually going to still be a part of your life this coming December. 

Author: Michael Ungar, PhD is the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience at Dalhousie University, and author of Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success (Sutherland House, 2019)

Publications

Use the buttons below to navigate through our books & special issues, book chapters and peer reviewed journal articles.

Books & Special Issues

Book Chapters

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Daniel Blais

Research Assistant

Daniel Blais is a research and evaluation associate with the Resilience Research Centre and Wisdom2Action network. With an interest in cultural sociology and a background in youth care and advocacy, Blais has an interest in program evaluation that applies mixed methods research and evidence-based practices. While completing the written requirement for an MA in Sociology (forthcoming) from York University on the topic of professionalization, Daniel has worked with the RRC-ETI and W2A on projects focusing on youth program evaluation, public policy development, opioid addictions, and youth resilience.

Chantale Comeau

Research Assistant

Chantale Comeau received a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Criminology from Saint Mary’s University, and has completed a Master of Arts in Criminology & Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto set to graduate in November 2018. Chantale will be returning to school to pursue a Masters in Public Administration at Dalhousie University in efforts to obtain the skills necessary for a career in justice policy.

Igor Pekelny

Research Assistant

Igor Pekelny is a research associate at the Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University and the Sociology/Criminology Department, Saint Mary’s University, with experience in mixed methods project evaluation, online survey design and implementation, and crime prevention program design and management. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology (Magna Cum Laude) and Psychology (Magna Cum Laude) and now pursuing his Master of Arts in Criminology, all from Saint Mary’s University.

Marlee Jordan

Research Assistant

Marlee Jordan has an academic background in Criminology; she received a BA (Honours) and MA from Saint Mary’s University with the majority of her work focusing on the forensic mental health population. Her MA thesis was written on experiences in supported housing of people found Not Criminally Responsible in Halifax, N.S. Her other research interests include community-based services for people with mental health issues, addictions, and criminal justice involvement; youth education internationally, and community development. She is currently focused on gaining experience in research and program evaluation, otherwise she can be found hiking with her dogs, reading, or planning her next big trip.

Rena Vanstone

Research Assistant

Rena Vanstone is a research assistant at the Resilience Research Centre. She is currently completing an Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Sociology at Dalhousie, with minors in Psychology and English. Her research interests include youth resilience and wellbeing, as well as arts-based methodology and interventions.

Brandon Mott

Communications Support

Brandon promotes content, shares stories, and facilitates conversation through audio visuals, event planning, and graphic design.  Brandon Mott is a communications specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the policy and research world, most notably at the Resilience Research Centre under the direction of Dr. Michael Ungar. Brandon is known for his knowledge sharing skills; crafting thoughts and ideas into digestible content. His degree in music marks a dedication to refining craft and an emphasized attention on creative detailing. This keen focus helps polish multimedia products, as seen in any of the numerous videos, reports, and websites he has produced.

Chase Kodejs

Communications Specialist

Chase combines his creativity and technical skills to produce digestible content for websites, social media and events, while adhering to Resilience Research Center’s brand strategy. Chase Kodejs is a communications specialist with a demonstrated history of facilitating projects in the private sector with numerous firms. A keen focus and desire to learn allows Chase to continue to be up to date with latest digital trends and deliver products that are refined for the end user.

Jan Höltge

Visiting Scholar

Jan Höltge is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Resilience Research Centre. Jan completed both his Bachelor in Psychology and Master in Environmental, Social and Clinical Psychology at the University of Vienna, Austria. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical and Positive Psychology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He has joined the Resilience Research Centre supported by the Early Postdoc.Mobility Scholarship granted by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Jan is passionately interested in how stressful circumstances can have positive effects on human life, especially resilience-enhancement, ranging from daily hassles to traumatic experiences. While taking a lifespan perspective, he has a focus on higher age, the long-term effects of early life stress and the positive effects of collective adversities on social values and behaviors. Additionally, he is interested in how the physical environment contributes to human resilience and wellbeing.

Haorui Wu

Research Fellow

Dr. Haorui Wu is Assistant Professor of Social Work and a research fellow in the Resilience Research Center at Dalhousie University.  His architecture-based interdisciplinary teaching, research, and emerging practice examine post-disaster reconstruction, recovery, and rehabilitation initiatives through the lens of environmental and social justice. He seeks to employ community-engaged planning and architectural strategies to strengthen built environment social missions, build social capital, enhance overall well-being, and advance community resilience in the context of global climate change, disaster, and other world crises. His research consists of (1) empowering local residents’ (especially the vulnerable and marginalized groups) leadership and supporting holistic well-being by advancing non-discriminatory civic engagement in community-based planning and architecture design; and (2) enhancing the humanitarian quality of post-disaster built environment to support community resilience and sustainability.

Paul McGuinness

Operations Manager

Paul McGuinness is the Operations Manager for the Resilience Research Centre (RRC). Paul has an extensive corporate background in Information Technology, Administration, Finance and Business Development. Paul provides leadership and operational management of the RRC and is a key interaction point between the RRC and internal and external grant and management programs. The Research Operations Manager works collaboratively with all university departments, building and maintaining strategic working relationships in the administration of internal schemes, as well as maintaining a network of external stakeholders to support national and international competitive and contract research opportunities.

Kathleen Murphy

Project Manager (RYSE)

Kathleen is the Project Manager for the RYSE Project based at the Resilience Research Centre. Kathleen has a diverse array of research, programmatic, policy, and project management experience, having worked in the area of positive parenting interventions, youth mental health, artificial intelligence and health, and Indigenous health research. She has a Biology degree from St. Francis Xavier University, and received her Master of Public Health at the University of Toronto, specializing in health promotion and public health policy. Her work has been local, national, and international in scope.

Simone Chia-Kangata

Project Manager (CYRRC)

Simone Chia-Kangata joined the CYRRC as Project Manager in May 2017. Simone brings expertise in research and evaluation, project design, implementation and management, business management, knowledge mobilization and marketing. Simone has a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies from McGill University. She has worked in the public sector and NGO sector in Ottawa, the UK, Kenya, Somaliland and Nova Scotia.

Sara Al-Gashm

Evaluation Manager

Sara Al-Gashm manages evaluation projects at the Resilience Research Centre at a national and international level, which integrate both quantitative and quasi-experimental pre and post-test methodology as well as qualitative methods. She brings interdisciplinary and cross-national training and experience to her position, along with an extensive research background in health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Sara received a Master’s degree in Global Health from McMaster University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University. She was granted the title of Leading First-Class Honours Student and is the recipient of the University Silver Medal from Dalhousie University. Sara holds publications in The Lancet and the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. She is fluent in three languages: English, Arabic and Tagalog. Her interests include monitoring and evaluation, results-based management, participatory research methods, and qualitative research.

Michael Ungar

Director

Dr. Michael Ungar is the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience and Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University. He is also a practicing family therapist, the founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre, and consults and trains with the World Bank, UNESCO, and the Red Cross. Dr Ungar’s research has helped to identify the most important factors that influence the resilience of children and adults during periods of transition and stress. He is the author of 16 books that have been translated into five languages, numerous manuals for parents, educators, and employers, as well as more than 180 scientific papers. His blog Nurturing Resilience is on Psychology Today. In 2012 Dr. Ungar was the recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers National Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding contribution to clinical work with families and communities.

Philip Jefferies

Research Fellow

Dr. Philip Jefferies is a research fellow at the Resilience Research Centre. Following his PhD and teaching/research posts in the UK, Ireland, and Fiji, Phil joined the Centre to support the RYSE project. He now conducts resilience research with challenged populations around the world to understand how some do well despite adversity, and helped to develop the Centre’s evidence-based resilience building intervention ‘R2’, which is now used by organisations worldwide.