Estimates vary depending on the year and scope of the study, but research into New Year’s resolutions has generally found that fewer than 10 percent of people who make resolutions each year stay the course until they’ve accomplished their goal.
In fact, a 2020 poll conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Crispy Green found that the average person has abandoned his or her resolution by February 1.
No two people are the same, but resolutions could fall victim to various pitfalls that can affect anyone.
Recognition of these pitfalls when making a resolution may improve your chances of being successful in the year ahead.
• Lack of specificity: When making a resolution, be as specific as possible. If you want to read more, resolve to read two books per month (or however many books you feel you can reasonably read in a month). If you want to lose weight, speak to your physician to help you set a specific weight loss goal you can meet without compromising your overall health.
• No measuring stick to track progress: Specificity is important, but it’s not the only tool you can use to stay the course with a resolution. Maintain a resolution journal or blog that allows you to gauge your performance. This can help you engage more fully in your resolution efforts, providing an outlet you can use to explore your successess and failures. The more engaged you are in your resolution efforts, the more likely those efforts will prove successful.
• Going it alone: The buddy system works when pursuing various goals, and New Year’s resolutions are no exception. A friend or family member along for the resolution journey can make it easier to maintain your motivation. For example, anyone who wants to read more can join a book club, which can provide the motivation to finish books or excerpts before a weekly discussion.
• Biting off more than you can chew: Small resolutions may not seem like much, but minor efforts can serve as the stepping stones to realizing larger goals. If your goals are too ambitious at the outset, you’re more likely to give up at the first setback.
• Not anticipating setbacks: Setbacks will happen, and as noted, it’s easy to let them derail your efforts when they first appear. Recognize that there will be bumps in the road but that these bumps should in no way end your journey. Take setbacks as the valuable lessons that they can be, and use them as an opportunity to examine what you did that didn’t work and what you can do to avoid future setbacks.
Metro Editorial – Guest Column