As you’re waiting for the ball to drop at the end of the year, it’s the ideal time to think about what New Year’s resolution you’ll make. Although the concept of New Year’s resolutions has its roots in Babylonian and Roman times, it has really gained popularity within the past 100 years.
Although almost half of the American population makes a resolution, approximately 88% of those individuals fail to keep them. There are a variety of reasons for this high failure rate, including setting unrealistic goals, not keeping track of progress, and/or totally forgetting about the resolution altogether. To increase the likelihood of success, we’ve put together some tips to help you make a New Year’s resolution that will stick.
5 Savvy Secrets to Setting New Year’s Resolutions that Succeed
- Make your goal specific and realistic. You may want to lose weight, but it’s not enough to just proclaim that as your goal. How much weight? What would it take for you to feel that you’ve met your goal? When you’re making a New Year’s resolution, you want to ensure it’s realistic in scope and nature — and specific enough that you can know whether you’ve successfully reached it.
- Limit the number of resolutions. According to a 2007 study, 1 in 10 people were unsuccessful in keeping their resolutions simply because they made too many of them. It’s great to have goals, but if you can’t focus your efforts, you’re unlikely to accomplish any of them. Select no more than 3 resolutions to focus on in 2016 — and be sure to follow tip #1 when you make them.
- Measure your progress. As you determine your New Year’s resolution, make sure you figure out how to monitor your progress in meeting it. What metrics are available to chart your progress? Your resolution should be one that provides markers or measurable signs of accomplishment along the way. As you strive towards meeting your goal, you’ll want to track your success and make adjustments as needed. You may want to create a plan that includes check points throughout the year.
- Determine the one part of your life you most need to improve. We all have various areas of our life that we could stand to improve, and we should be learning and growing, no matter what our age. But when it comes to making a New Year’s resolution, it just makes sense to start with the most urgent need for improvement. Do you need to be more financially responsible? Do you want to improve your health and/or trim your waistline? Should you be spending more time with your kids? Do you want to go back to school? Start your resolution search by figuring out where you’ll see the most results.
- Enlist an accountability partner. One of the best ways to meet an important goal is to have someone else hold you accountable. Instead of keeping your New Year’s resolution to yourself, tell your partner, a family member, or a friend, and ask if they’d be willing to help you stay on track. Make sure that the person you pick is willing to and comfortable with serving in this role, and that you will respect their gentle reminders and follow-up. Depending on the type of resolution you make, you may want to enlist an individual who is knowledgeable about and/or takes an interest in that particular area of life.
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How many New Year’s resolutions have you kept? What will your resolution for 2016 be?