New Year's Resolutions: Why We Make Them, Fail & How to Succeed
4 months ago
It's not all about willpower
"All we do is say one sentence, 'I will lose weight,' without giving any additional thought or planning to the how and why to make that happen. Being healthy, while noble, is not a juicy goal by itself, but getting to play with your kids, go on a run with your husband, or hike a mountain on vacation is much more inspiring. Keep that on a Post-it as a reminder of why you are doing what you are doing every day."
Latasha Kennedy adds, "Take the idea of losing weight and break it down: How much weight do you want to lose overall? And this week? How often, and when, will you exercise? What, and when, will you eat? Will you go to a gym or workout at home? This way you can avoid joining a gym on January 1 and being off the wagon by Valentine's Day."
Indeed, while 64 percent of people maintained their resolution thorough the first week, that number dropped to 46 percent by the sixth month. Additionally, the survey reveals that those in their 20s were more likely to achieve their resolution each year (39 percent) than those over the age of 50 (14 percent).
So what can be done? Reyes advises you be smart about making resolutions—literally.
"By now, almost everyone has heard of 'SMART' goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound," said Reyes. "My favorite variation is for the 'M.' Is your goal both measurable—meaning you can quantify it as in, 'I ran 20 miles, I made $2,000, I left work an hour early'—and motivational as in, does the goal inspire or excite you? I would also add a 'W': write down your goals. It turns them into something tangible instead of a daydream. And it's easier to edit, adjust, and note your progress on them. You can define and re-define success at any time."
Additionally, experts have agreed that revealing your resolution to a trustworthy person will provide you a greater chance of achieving it because a personal cheerleader can hold you accountable, provide motivation, and even join you in your attempt.
Still, Luna maintains that aiming for success shouldn't happen once a year. "Most successful people don't bother to set 'New Year's resolutions' because they are consistently working on their goals," she said. "They may set new objectives, but there's nothing to 'resolve' because they are already in their game."