When it comes to new year’s resolutions, here are a few commonalities over time and across the globe. We want better health, exercise more, improve our financial situation (save more money or get out of debt), and self-improvement such as learn a new skill.
Polls show that between 10-12% achieve their resolutions. Even with the relatively low success rate, 68% of those polled said they were planning to have resolutions for 2018.
Who could blame us?
Culturally, the end of December has become a time for reflection. It feels good to want to be better and even more exciting when done socially. Logically, there are no rules regarding when we can have resolutions; you can start one in June. But the end of the year provides us with the collective drive—-we feel it in the air, bombarded by it in the media. Come February, however, the collective chatter goes away. Society will move on to other topics, such as Valentine’s day. We don’t have a month dedicated to new year’s resolution accountability. Resolutions are treated like fireworks–it starts off with a big bang and much ado, but then the lights and sounds fade out.
So if you’re embarking on a resolution, in January or any other time, here are ways to create resolutions that stick.
Is it social pressure?Although social pressure can encourage you to have a resolution, are YOU ready to make the change?
Change comes in stages. Contemplating about making a change doesn’t mean that you are ready to take action.
So ask yourself, is it the pressure of the new year that’s making you leap to action, or have you contemplated, prepared, and are you ready to change? Being honest with yourself goes a long way.
It’s better to start when you’re ready than start half-heartedly and feel discouraged if you’re not hitting your goals. Resolutions can start any month, week, or day of the year.
Are your goals specific enough?
Wanting to be a healthier person is a good idea, but too vague as a goal. You want goals that are specific with clear ways to measure them. If you want to be healthier, eating less processed food and more fresh wholesome food, would be a doable and measurable goal, for example.
Are you keeping track of your progress?
Whether it’s using an app or keeping a journal, keeping track is a part of measuring progress. Writing down what you eat has been scientifically proven to be an effective way to improve food intake and weight loss.
Are you being patient?
If you had to consciously take on a resolution to initiate change, chances are, you’re embarking on a journey that is not simple or easy. Acknowledging and maybe even celebrating incremental successes helps preserve will power and will allow you to complete the end goal.
Do you need a support system?
If you know that you work better in a group, make finding a support system a part of your planning.My story
I love the concept of resolutions, but not a big fan of putting a time stamp on when it should be done, since that leaves 11 months of opportunities wasted. For me, resolutions are internal and personal, not to be tampered with or prematurely started by cultural impetuses.
With that said, I do find joy in seeing the influx of people doing yoga or other physical activities during this time of the year. If resolutions get people to try something new or pay attention to their health, that’s a good thing.