New Year’s resolutions: make and break time

newyearsresolutionsYes, I know. We all make them and some of them may last a bit longer than a Star Wars movie trilogy but the majority are a flash in the pan, lost in oblivion even before Big Ben’s New Year chimes have faded. So what can we do to ensure we stick to the resolutions we set for ourselves? Or even, should we bother making any resolutions at all?

You may be someone who makes the same resolution year in year out and, proved by the very fact that you keep setting it, eventually realise it’s going to take more than a respected annual tradition to break your habit.

As New Year beckons each year, many of us set goals for ourselves that are difficult to keep – whether it’s an exercise routine that proves too challenging to stick to barely a month in or a career goal that’s too obscure.

But, hang on a minute. Before you call the Samaritans, don’t despair – you’re not the only one. According to a study*, research shows that only 8% of people who have made a New Year’s resolution were able to meet their goal.

In theory, setting any New Year resolution can feel like a positive thing in itself; it can give us a sense of hope and uplift us. It’s all part of wiping the slate clean, turning over a new leaf and feeling a sense of optimism as a new year approaches. We feel good about it. However, in reality, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to follow and it usually all ends up being rather hollow. Again. Part of the problem is that we often pick the most unrealistic goals as resolutions under the false assumption that we can just “be a completely different person” come the New Year. But before we give up on our ambitions and hopes altogether and surrender to a life of perpetual procrastination, we can take comfort from the fact that also in reality, changes happen in small steps over time.

If you’ve set your mind on a goal in the New Year, the first step is to dissociate yourself from this whole ‘New Year resolution’ thing. Treat it as a mid-term or long-term life goal. Want to run that London Marathon you keep promising yourself you’ll do every New Year? Then buy running shoes and go on short runs before fully committing to a resolution to run it. Just don’t make it a New Year’s resolution if you want to get that finishing line. As a certain sports brand would say, just do it.




*Source: University of Scranton, compiled by Statistic Brain