The Most Common New Year’s Resolutions and How to Stick to Them
As the new year begins, it is time to set your goals for the next year. For most people, the New Year is synonymous with new beginnings and starting fresh, so it’s no surprise that many of them decide to come up with New Year’s resolutions.
According to a recent survey, more than 40 percent of American adults create New Year’s resolutions for themselves. However, only 46 percent of them manage to fulfill their goals. While this success rate is about 10 times higher than for people who decide to make major changes in their lives at any other time during the year, the fact that more than half of all resolvers fail doesn’t sound very encouraging.
Ranking the Most Common New Year’s Resolutions
In 2015, a large survey conducted by ComRes ranked the most common New Year’s resolutions people make. According to the results, if New Year’s resolutions were a beloved fictional character, they would very likely be Bridget Jones – romantic troubles aside.
As expected, most decisions had to do with health and physical fitness. Namely, 38 percent of respondents set the goal to exercise more, 33 percent decided to lose weight, while 32 percent set out to adopt healthier dietary habits. In addition, 15 percent of all respondents set themselves a general goal to pay more attention to their health and approach the matter in a more proactive way.
A significant percentage of respondents decided to focus on their personal growth and wellbeing, spend more time with their families, learn new skills, and take up new hobbies. Many of them also wanted to adopt healthier lifestyle habits – 12 percent wanted to drink less, while 9 wanted to quit smoking.
Interestingly, financial decisions didn’t make the top ten in 2015. Fast forward to two years later and financial concerns have taken over the top spot. A similar survey from 2017 revealed that 53 percent of people wanted to save money. Further illustrating that a renewed economic optimism is blooming in the United States, more than 21 percent of people were also determined to buy a house in 2018.
There’s a lot of overlap between the two surveys, but it’s interesting to note that, in 2017, 24 percent were eager to travel more, while 23 percent decided to set aside more time to read books. Also, as if to reinforce the Bridget Jones comparison from 2015, 15 percent of respondents were eager to find love in 2018, while 25 percent of them wanted to have more sex.
Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?
While some New Year’s resolutions have a lot to do with outside factors (e.g. job security, income, and other financial parameters), most of them depend solely on us. So if there’s nothing stopping us from achieving our goals, why do more than half of all New Year’s resolutions end in failure?
More than half of all respondents to a 2016 UK survey said that they weren’t confident in their ability to fulfill their resolutions or even stick to them. What’s worse, they kept sabotaging themselves from the get-go and coming up with excuses that would justify their eventual failure. According to experts, this is a clear sign that people are not yet ready to make the changes that they think they’re interested in.
Many of us also tend to go to extremes. Namely, we either set goals that are next-to-impossible to achieve or deliberately choose to keep our resolutions ambiguous. For example, saying that you want to lose weight could mean anything from shedding a pound or two or losing 20 pounds of excess body weight. Conversely, you may decide to lose 50 pounds before the summer, even though you probably already know that it is unrealistic to lose more than 1-2 pounds per week.
How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions
With more than 50 percent of New Year’s resolutions doomed from the very start, you are probably wondering what to do to ensure that your goals don’t end in failure. The following six tips might help.
1. Make Your Goals Specific
To make sure that you’ll stick to your goal, you need to make it as specific as possible. Ideally, each of your resolutions should be quantifiable. For example, if you decide to take up exercise, you need to determine how often you’ll exercise and/or how long each session will last. Similarly, if your New Year’s resolution is to save money, you should also decide how much money you need to save every month.
2. Keep Them Realistic, Too
Of course, your New Year’s resolutions must also be realistic or you’ll set yourself up for failure before you’ve even started working on achieving your goals. For example, you can’t expect to save $300 a month if your salary is $900 and you spend $800 on rent, food, and utilities. Worse yet, if you fail to achieve your goal in the first month, you’ll have no motivation to persevere for 11 more months.
3. Focus on One Thing at a Time
Rather than taking on a handful of goals that all require hard work and dedication, it is best to focus on one thing at a time. If, for example, you want to quit smoking and lose weight, you should get one out of the way before you start working on the other. In this particular case, because quitting smoking can lead to a weight gain, you should deal with it first and then work on shedding the extra pounds.
4. Track Your Progress
To ensure that you don’t lose motivation halfway to your goal, you should track your progress in regular intervals. Rather than setting a general goal for the entire year, it might be best to set weekly or monthly milestones that you need to achieve. For example, if your goal is to read more, you should task yourself with reading one or two books per month. That way, you’ll be able to track your progress and get the reassurance you need along the way.
5. Give Yourself Time
Changes are gradual and don’t happen overnight, which is why you need to give yourself time to achieve your goals. If you don’t know a word of French on December 31, you can’t expect to become fluent by January 31 even if you study all day long. Similarly, if you’ve eaten red meat and drank five cups of coffee all your life, you need to give your body time to adjust to your new, coffee- and red meat-free diet.
6. Get All the Help You Need
If you want to succeed at anything in life, you need to build a strong support mechanism for yourself. In relation to New Year’s resolution, this means getting all the help you need to successfully reach your goals. If your goal is to exercise more, why not sign up for a gym membership? If you want to learn a new language or master a new subject, you may find it more engaging to enroll in class than study at home.
No matter what your resolution is, there are many things you can do to increase your chance of success. And if you ever find it difficult to focus on the task at hand, Neurogum, the world’s first herbal energy chewing gum, may be just what you need to get back on track.