A study from the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology shows that 92% of people do not keep their New Year’s resolutions. That means that only 8% of people who make resolutions actually keep them—only 8%! And of that 8%, only 46% of people keep their resolutions for longer than six months.
Clearly, many of us have great intentions but significant trouble following through to making our desires a reality. What can you do to put yourself in the 8% of people who achieve their goals and resolutions? How do you keep those resolutions that you set only a few weeks ago? It is very doable, and the process is simple.
First, we need to remove the pressure of the New Year. The New Year does not have to be the impetus of change. It can simply be the beginning of a new year. Each morning brings us a chance at newness, renewal, and change. Do not hold yourself prisoner to the New Year of the calendar. This happens to be the time that you decided to make a change. But remember that you can make changes at any time!
Second, consider why you made your resolutions. Was it because everyone else around you was making these declarations? Were you motivated by the media telling you that it is time for a change? Or was it something inside yourself that spurred you to declare this change for yourself?
Knowing your motivation is a useful step in staying on track with your resolutions. Changing for yourself or because of your own desire to do so significantly increases the chances that you will actually make that change. Now that we are several weeks into the New Year, it is time to review the goals that you set.
Within the next few weeks, if it hasn’t already happened, people will start missing workouts, cheating on diets, and otherwise neglecting the plan of change that they set for themselves. In order to prevent and intervene with these stumbling blocks consider if the goals of change that you set are R.E.A.L. (Colette, 1996).
Setting Realistic, Easy-to-measure, Achievable, and Logical goals are critical to your success. Consider your goals and resolutions for 2014 and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this goal realistic and specific enough for me to achieve?
- How can I measure this goal to see if I’m making progress?
- Is my goal personal and achievable?
- Is my goal logical? Does it make sense for me and my current life circumstances?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions then it is time to revise your goals. Setting unrealistic goals is setting yourself up for failure. Not only are you unsuccessful at achieving your goals, but you negatively affect your self-esteem and self-confidence. You fail at achieving your goals and then feel like a failure in life.
Take some time to rewrite your New Year’s resolutions using the aforementioned questions as a guide. Write your goals in a manner until you are able to answer “yes” to each question.
The final step in this process is to review your goals with someone else. Have them read your goals and verify that they are R.E.A.L. Another perspective helps to clarify your goals, provides you support, and holds you accountable to your own goals because someone else knows about the changes you are trying to make.
Using these simple principles you will meet your New Year’s resolutions, increase your self-confidence, and proudly join the 8% of people who actually keep their New Year’s resolutions!
- Author unknown. (2014). University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology
- Colette, M., Woliver, B., Bingman, M., Merrifield, J (1996). Getting there: A curriculum for people moving into employment. The Center for Literacy Studies. Knoxville, TN.
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.