Saturday, 27 December 2014

New Year's resolutions - Do you make and break them?

So we all know that a New Year's resolution is when a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year's Day.

But how many of us make these resolutions and then end up breaking them? I'm not jumping on that wagon this year. I have spent too many years subjecting myself to failure. Over the years I've promised to myself that I would try a new diet, exercise more, save money, spend more time outdoors, and numerous other efforts. Each and every time I have failed.

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail.

So why do New Year's resolutions fail? While we start out with good intentions and high expectations, it is easy to become discouraged when we inevitably fall short of our goals, and this is the reason most New Year’s resolutions fail. Our high expectations and desire for changes in behavior simply are not matched by our willingness to change our actual habits. The desire is there, but not the self-discipline needed to manifest the changes.

The top 10 most commonly broken New Year's resolutions are - 
  • Lose Weight and Get Fit
  • Quit Smoking
  • Learn Something New
  • Eat Healthier and Diet
  • Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  • Spend More Time with Family
  • Travel to New Places
  • Be Less Stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Drink Less

However if you are planning on making one, here are some top tips to help you avoid failure - 

Don’t overreach. Make one, not multiple New Year’s resolutions. Channel all your energy into one sensible, achievable goal.

Be specific. Break your overall goal down into smaller sub-goals, or objectives, with time-lines or other specifics. 

Monitor your progress. Keep track of both your goal-related activities and the progress you are making.

Don’t over-react to set-backs. Set-backs should be expected, but not used as an excuse to dial back on self-discipline.

Reward yourself often. We all need positive feedback.

Whether you are a New Year’s resolution-maker or not, the most important thing to consider for the coming year is that you can have a “fresh start” any time you need it.

So, if you have decided that you are going to set a resolution, what is your goal?

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