The Statistics Behind New Year’s Resolutions
Happy New Year friends! It’s that time again, where we’re kicking out the old and taking in the new. If the thought of that makes you nauseous rather than beaming with joy, you are not alone. The current research reports that 25% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail within 1 week of making them and a whopping 40% fail after just 1 month. With just a few days to go, how do you stand with that last number?
I think it’s high time we look at how we go about setting the promises we make to ourselves before we add our own failures to those percentages. Let’s make those percentages a thing of the past.
Set Specific Goals
Elisa Zied, M.S., R.D., C.D.N, author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips says, “The more specific the resolution the better.” When you are vague like “I vow to eat healthier this year” you fail to take into account all the details that need to make that possible. Being specific may be more like, “I vow to eat more fruits and vegetables and to eliminate processed foods.”
Research the foods you plan to eat and the health benefits that you will gain from eating them/Research the negative impact the foods you are now eating are having on you. Find out why it is that you are eating the food that isn’t good for you. Is it comforting to you? If so what are other healthy ways you can seek comfort?
Make a chart to show you the progress you’re making. Document how many times you are implementing these healthy foods during your week.
Tell Everyone You Know
Post your New Year’s resolution on Facebook, tweet it, tell your family, blanket text your address book, tell all your friends, even your enemies for that matter. Research tells us that people who have accountability on their side are more likely to accomplish goals. Why do you think groups like AA and Weight Watchers are so successful? Your team may even have some great ideas to help you in your success. It’s a lot harder to let yourself down when you know you’re letting 50 of your friends and fans down – or giving your enemies ammo for gloating in your failure.
Set small, segmented goals and reward yourself often for accomplishing them. You will be far more motivated and more likely to carry through with the entire resolution. I have a degree in behavioral psychology and have been shaping behaviors in children and adults for over a decade. I use classical conditioning. I teach a desired behavior to the subject, reward them each time I see the behavior present. By doing this I ensure that the subject will do as I desire. To make sure the behavior sticks I begin to reinforce intermediately (every other or every 3 times the wanted behavior is present). This works wonders. Sometimes as quickly as 2 weeks I am able to see consistent desired behavior from my subjects. Eventually I fade the reward and the behavior remains.
When we follow through with our new year’s resolutions we create a nice happy dopamine cocktail in our brains. Whipping up this chemical cocktail in our heads will make us more likely to want to set even higher goals. As the years go by we become more and more amazing human beings. This stimulates parts of the brain that make us want to be smart this year. Create specific goals that define exactly what you want to accomplish and how you intend to do that. Keep yourself accountable and remember to reward yourself often for meeting your goals. If you do make a mistake pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start again. Here’s to a fantastic new year, my friends. I can’t wait to hear how you succeed.
About The Author
Sarah Stevenson, a.k.a., The Tini Yogini, is a Certified Yoga Instructor in Southern California. She has a degree in Behavioral Psychology and teaches not only yoga classes but also life affirming workshops. She also writes for Beachbody, which provides effective and popular workout videos, including the Insanity Workout, a high intensity interval training program for total body conditioning.
Photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59632563@N04/6104751841/in/photostream/