New Year’s Resolutions: Take 2

With the end of March approaching fast, what goals have you achieved since you decided to create your New Year’s resolution in January?

By: Chris Acampora and Kristen Plahn

Why do people all over the country choose January 1st as the day to start improving themselves? There are 365 days in a year, but as Americans, we always choose this day. Why is that? Aside from being the start of the year, the date has no significance. Research shows that 42 percent of New Year’s Resolutions end in failure. That is a lot of failure. How can we improve on our resolutions? The problem lies in the reason we created our News Year’s resolution in the first place.

New Year’s Resolution Facts

  • Every year 21 percent of Americans decide that their resolution is to lose weight and eat healthier

  • Other common resolutions include money management and spending time with family and friends

Why They Fail

The number one reason your New Year’s Resolutions fail is because you — like everyone else in America — set an unrealistic goal on an arbitrary date so other people can see that you’re improving yourself. The problem is, well, this doesn’t work!

People feel inclined to come up with New Year’s resolutions based on the fear of not having one, instead of wanting to achieve the actual goal.   They also create them in hopes of sharing them with others. The science behind this shows why this model fails. If you share your goal with another person, it is scientifically proven you’re less likely to achieve that goal. When you share your resolution with someone else, your brain gets the feeling that you get from actually achieving the goal. When you share the goal, you lose motivation because the satisfaction of the resolution has already happened. You need to show other people your goal by achieving it.

How to Make Your Resolutions Stick

Just telling others about your resolution is counterproductive, but finding someone to partner with may be your best bet. If your resolution is one you can do with a friend, then you’ll be more likely to achieve it. Your fear of not fulfilling your end of the bargain will motivate you to stick with it. You and your friend will also be able to keep tabs on each other. If your goal is to be healthy, you could be active with a friend; if your goal is to do better in school, you could start a study group. No matter your goal, finding someone to do it with will always makes it more successful and fun along the way.

Also try not to make your goal unrealistic. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. If your goal is out of reach, you’ll likely feel discouraged and give up. Make sure the goal includes the steps you can take to achieve it. Being healthier isn’t very specific goal, but sticking to a healthy diet and going to bed at a certain time are concrete steps. Try to have goals that can be measured easily too, with concrete, easy- to-follow steps.

If You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again

Ok, you can admit it, your New Year’s resolution failed. Being active every day turned into once a week, and you’re sneaking a doughnut into your coffee run in the morning. But it’s not too late. Now that you know some strategies for success, try again. Pick your own arbitrary date to start working toward your goal. Maybe start a St. Patrick’s Day resolution. And instead of falling into the New Year’s Resolution trap next January, set check ins, or split one goal into multiple smaller goals. You’ll feel good about yourself when you actual succeed this time

You can meet your goal this time, we believe in you! Maybe just don’t tell anybody about it this time, ok?!

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