Are you among the many Americans who make New Year’s resolutions for yourself at the beginning of each year? It used to be the norm, but, according to a study by the University of Scranton, it may be time to rethink this trend. It seems that only 19% of people who make New Year’s resolutions are able to maintain those practices long-term. Other polls show that over 60% of adults don’t even plan to make any resolutions, and if they do, only 37% are very confident they will be able to stick to their choices.
As discouraging as those statistics may be, the answer may not be to throw out the habit of resolutions altogether but to adjust the process. For some, the aspirations set for themselves every year are a private choice or something shared with a partner or close friend. A primarily self-accountable setup without support could be the reason that a good portion of our resolutions don’t last indefinitely.
So, what is the answer? Instead of iron-clad resolutions that often set you up to fail, set achievable goals for yourself so you can be proud no matter whether you barely reach or go way beyond them. Another good practice is to share goals with a group of friends, family, or coworkers who can support you in the effort. If you are only accountable to yourself, it can be easy to make excuses or let yourself off the hook. Choosing the right team to encourage and push you to stay the course will help to set you up for success.
How then do we set achievable goals? Be specific! If you are in the group of 23% of U.S. adult citizens who want to live healthier in 2022 but you don’t have a plan of how to do that, you probably won’t follow through. If your goal is to exercise more this year, set yourself a recurring calendar event on your phone three or four days each week that will remind you of your commitment so it will be harder to ignore. Want to travel more? At the beginning of the year, block out dates on your calendar, request time off work way in advance, and make your reservations ahead of time to ensure you actually make the time to get away and explore. Above all, make goals that will inspire or make you hopeful for positive change, and don’t be so rigid in your pursuit that you end up with guilt or discouragement if you don’t quite reach them…enjoy the ride.
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