88% of all new year's resolutions fail according to the Wall Street Journal. By the first week of January 25% of resolutions are already broken, by the second week 29%. This begs the question: Are they worth making?
Well, the answer is yes according to University of Scranton psychology professor John C. Norcross, PhD. He explains that those who make resolutions are still 10 times more likely to successfully change compared to non-resolvers with the identical goals and comparable motivation to change. "Making a New Year's Resolution is a valuable opportunity for you to increase the quality of your life." he states.
So how can you keep your new year's resolutions this year?
Resolutions that involve a habit change
E.g. eat better, lose weight, drink less alcohol, improve finances, reduce stress ...
Think of these resolutions as marathons, not 100-yard dashes. Focus on the process not the end goal. Prepare for the long haul of a changed lifestyle. For example, if your resolution is to be fit, plan on maintaining a healthy lifestyle for good. Create a maintainable exercise schedule and a maintainable heathy diet; something you can easily stick to. It has to be flexible; allow for the occasional sweet, and for switching exercise times. Anything too rigid will set you up for failure. Research shows that meaningful change takes time. It takes three to six months before a change becomes a routine.
Resolutions that involve accomplishing a project
E.g. write a book, create music, create art, renovate the house ...
Capture your commitments and goals preferably in a single location. Break down your goals into smaller chunks. For example, if your goal is to write a book this year, break down the process into multiple milestones. Again be flexible; review and update those milestones regularly. The further you are in writing the book, the better you can come up with milestone estimates, so feel free to make changes to your milestones along the way.
Whether your resolutions involve a habit change, accomplishing a project or a mixture of both, make sure to identify and celebrate incremental successes along the way. It helps you keep a positive attitude and stay motivated.
We are already in the second week of January, did you make any new year's resolutions this year? How are you planning to keep them? If you have any tips on making and keeping new year's resolutions, please share them in the comments.