Are New Year’s resolutions still going strong?
SAN DIEGO, Jan.12, 2016 —Millions of Americans have made and begun acting upon New Year’s resolutions for 2016.
John C. Norcross at the University of Scranton estimates that 25 percent of all New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within the first seven days.
It is believed that 40 to 50 percent of the entire U.S. population has set new goals, participating in this long-held tradition that inspires hope for new beginnings and the possibility of personal transformation.
Norcross has discovered through research that those who are still committed to their goals after six months “are more than 10 times as likely to keep them as those who don’t follow the annual New Year’s tradition.”
“By and large, when you look at people six months later and evaluate how well they did…typically they are not wildly successful,” laments psychology professor John Tauer, at the University of St. Thomas.
Why do so many people fail to reach their New Year’s resolutions goals?
One plausible answer: “People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves… [but] aren’t ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, and that accounts for the high failure rate,” according to psychology professor Timothy Pychyl, at Carleton University in Canada.
Another possible answer lies in how the goals themselves are framed. If they are too large in scope or too grandiose, well-meant goals can quickly be rendered unachievable.
It might be helpful to break each goal down into manageable steps, allowing for shorter-term goals that are measurable and more easily attainable.
As desired short-term goals are achieved, gradual long-term success becomes more and more likely.
It is important that goals be made very specific.
If, for example, the goal is to lose weight, it is critical that the exact number of pounds be specified.
Here are some practical recommendations for succeeding with New Year’s resolution goals, contributed by Larry Alton in Entrepreneur.
- Break your goals into achievable benchmarks.
- Schedule check-ins.
- Don’t let failure stop you.
- Measure every detail of progress.
With the odds stacked very much against successfully reaching any New Year’s resolutions goals, Shane Robinson, a Forbes contributor, offers a new way to view goal setting.
In his article, “Five New Year’s Resolutions That Will Change Your Life,” Robinson suggests that some goals are more readily attainable, especially if viewed holistically.
- Smile more and make yourself and others happier
- Maintain a health and fitness regimen for overall physical and emotional health
- Schedule personal time as diligently as work time, finding balance for personal passions, family and friends, and other non-job related activities
- Don’t commit to things you cannot do, and do not overextend health, time and energy
- Use a calendar continuously to stay organized and focused on tasks at hand, while managing daily goals
Discovering what behavioral changes can be made and incorporated into everyday life can be surprisingly simple.
Meaningful yet simple goals can have far-reaching personal benefits, leading to a healthier, happier and more balanced life.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 32 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is an educator and a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the president and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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