It can be tough to break out of old habits or meet goals, but you don’t have to do it alone. According to a new study, having somebody going through the same motions with you can actually increase your chances of success.

While certain cues such as the "if-then" method (in which you identify particular times and locations in which you will take specific actions--i.e., you tell yourself, "if X happens, I will do Y") have already been proven effective, researchers wanted to find out what method will ultimately work best for those who aspire to change or accomplish something. They then worked with employees from 15 councils who agreed to participate in studies that aim to improve their exercise and diet regimen. Some were assigned to go about the experiment alone; others were asked to find a buddy they could work with. One group was asked to commit to the "if-then" method, while another was asked to do the same but with a partner.

Researchers then interviewed the same employees after one, three, and six months to find out just which of the methods would prove effective. Based on the findings, they concluded that working with a partner and making joint plans with him or her is really the best way to attain goals. In fact, researchers have found that the effects of the partnership are still evident after six months.

However, having someone by our side doesn’t guarantee success. Being able to match our actions with our "if-then" plans still holds a lot of power. Our conviction to do what we plan to do is ultimately what will determine our level of success.

For more on goal-setting and efficiency, try these:

Need help making resolutions? Check these out on FN:

(Photo by naturalturn via Flickr Creative Commons)

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