It’s that time of year again, the end of the year that is, when people consider making New Year’s Resolutions. The changing of the calendar is often seen as a time to install new habits and behaviors, but the rub is that it rarely works. The web site, Discover Happy Habits breaks down the rather depressing numbers:
According to a 2016 study, of the 41% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, by the end of the year only 9% feel they are successful in keeping them.
Part of the problem is that the initial enthusiasm for the resolution fades over time. However, the article also shares many other reasons they fail:
- In one 2014 study, 35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions said they had unrealistic goals.
- 33% of participants who failed didn’t keep track of their progress.
- 23% forgot about their resolutions.
- About one in 10 people who failed said they made too many resolutions.
Should we simply abandon the practice of making resolutions? Probably not. After all, if there is something in your life you want to change, it is important to start at a specific point. However, one cannot rely on willpower or excitement alone to make it work. To help make a change stick, the article shares four success tips.
The first tip is to develop the necessary skills and mindset ahead of time:
Multiple studies have shown that self‐efficacy and readiness to change predicted positive outcomes for those who made New Year’s resolutions.
Having the skills necessary to change was another important factor.
Conversely, social support and behavioral skills were not predictors of a successful outcome.
In another study, men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting and set their New Year’s resolutions in terms of small and measurable goals such as “lose 1 pound a week” instead of “lose weight”.