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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

How to make (and keep) New Year’s Resolutions

By Nikki Velarde, Harker Heights Evening Star

The start of the New Year is here, which for some means a fresh start and a clean slate. It poses the perfect opportunity to review goals, revaluate priorities, and even ditch bad habits.

According to statisticbrain.com, the ten most common resolutions are to lose weight, get organized, spend less and save more, enjoy life to the fullest, staying fit and healthy, learn something exciting, quit smoking, help others in their dreams, fall in love, and spend more time with family.

Nearly 47% of resolutions have to do with self improvement, which includes both health as well as educational aspects. However, only about 8% of those who make a resolution end up maintaining and achieving it throughout the year. 75% are maintained after the first week, then it drops to 64% maintaining after the first month. Finally after six months, only about 46% have maintained after six months.

Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol performed a study in 2007 in which he found that 88% of those who set a resolution for the New Year, inevitably failed.

Why do so many fail? According to atlassociety.org there are three overarching reasons and ways of thinking that set us up for failure. Magical Thinking: we need to discover the best course of action and by breaking down bigger goals into measurable sub-goals and keeping track of progress.

All or Nothing: having unrealistic expectations tends to promote failure. That is not to say you should never set an ambitious goal, you should just have a realistic expectation on the amount of time and effort that will be required in order to reach it. Make allowances for set-backs, new habits usually take time to form.

Finally, The Cold, Dead Hand of Duty: whether you think of your resolution as an obligation or as a choice will affect whether or not you keep it. You may think you need to lose weight to conform to society or quit smoking because your doctor told you to. Morally speaking however, you have the choice to live your life how you deem appropriate. If you choose to make a resolution, do it because you want to and not because you have to.

Normally with a New Year’s Resolution, you decide to change everything at once. Make smaller, more positive changes on a regular basis. “True personal growth is an ever-evolving, constant process. If you have your eyes open to the opportunities that come your way, learn from the inevitable mistakes and above all, be kind to yourself, then the sudden about-turn of a January lifestyle revamp won’t be necessary” said Time.

As for those who succeeded, “you will increase your chances of achieving your aims if you tell others about your goal”, says Wiseman.

If you would like additional support and advice, the usa.gov website also has links to help you achieve specific goals.

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