Do New Year’s Resolutions work?
At the start of every single new year, since I could basically talk, I’ve made different New Year’s resolutions. They started off small – don’t bite my nails, play with the dog more, and eventually evolved. No chocolate for the year (failed), no alcohol (failed) or go for a run every day (failed, MISERABELY!)
For most of us, it’s the same vicious cycle. Another year passes, and another set of resolutions are thrust to the side, our pitiful attempts determined to be forgotten.
The bad news? 90% of the time, you won’t stick to your resolutions. It happens to all of us, and it’s because we aren’t setting realistic goals.
Why do we make resolutions?
As the clock counts down, 2016 is just around the corner. We’re tired, we’re full of Christmas lunch and empty after buying presents for everyone we know. All you want to do is save money, be healthy and feel good. The new year always seems like a massive milestone, and for most of us… it’s really not.
We make resolutions to feel better about ourselves, because the thought of exercising or only eating salad for a whole year seems like a great idea (at the time). For one reason or another, we are unhappy with our situation, and what better time than the New Year to resolve to fix our issues.
Did you know a University of Scranton study showed that 77% of us are only able to keep our goals for the new year for ONE WEEK. The other 51 weeks? Not so much.
What are the most common resolutions?
I’m sure you can think of the most common resolutions, and I want you to make a promise to yourself that you won’t make them this broad! The top ten most popular statistics are:
1. Lose weight
2. Get organised
3. Save more money
4. Enjoy life to the fullest
5. Stay fit and health
6. Learn something new
7. Quit smoking
8. Help other people
9. Fall in love
10. Spend more time with family
Reading each one of these, it makes me cringe to think I’ve vowed nearly all of these (except smoking – never have and never will smoke!). The problem? They’re too broad. You can’t make such general resolutions and except to fulfil them without a plan.
How do I make New Years Resolutions that will last?
There are a few things to consider with your resolutions, and these are:
- Is it achievable? Will you be able to happily and easily accomplish your goals?
- Do I have a plan? It’s one thing to say you’ll quit smoking, but another to write down exactly HOW you’re going to do that.
- Will my family and friends support me? It’s great to say no more alcohol, but will you be able to cope with the pressure to drink at parties? Will you be able to say no? Instead of quitting alcohol all together, why not vow to only drink once a week/fortnight/month. This makes is more achievable and easier to stick to.
- Do I want to do this? I say every single year I want to lose weight, but I don’t enjoy running around every day. Instead, if you want to lose weight, promise yourself to maybe eat a salad during the week for lunch, and then treat yourself on the weekend. It’s all about balance. You should enjoy accomplishing your New Years Resolutions!
- Do I have a finish date? Just because you make the resolution at the start of the year, definitely doesn’t mean it has to last till the end of the year. If you want to fall in love, you might promise yourself to go on a few more blind dates until you meet someone that you really enjoy. You’ve achieved that goal, and from here you can sit down and reassess. E.g. my new partner and I will continue to have a weekly date night to keep the romance alive!
What are my New Years Resolutions?
1. To be able to run 5km without stopping. For many people, this is an easy feat, but I’ve always struggled with running long distances. I’m going to achieve this goal by using the app from C25K- from Couch Potato to Running the 5K . It’s something I can commit to no matter what the weather (hello treadmill!) and something I’m really looking forward to ticking off.
2. To eat less meat. This one is a little more broad, but I want to make a conscious effort to eat less meat. I will teach myself how to cook at least three staple vegetarian meals that I can turn to when my family has meat for dinner. Ultimately I’d love to be a vegetarian, but maybe that will be next year’s goal!
3. Pay off my debt. I recently totalled my car into a tree, and had to spend a hefty amount of money on buying a new car. I’ll achieve this goal by taking the time to work out a budget from my salary, possibly not buying a coffee EVERY morning of my life and not spending money on pointless clothing that I never wear.
There are so many more things I’d love to achieve this year, but I’m keeping it realistic. One of my favourite quotes at the moment is, “You can do anything, but not everything”. One step at a time, and we can achieve our New Years Resolutions!