10 Key Tips for Success with New Years Resolutions
Lots of people make New Years resolutions every year. For many people, it’s almost a ritual. An internet-based survey of around three and half thousand people at the beginning of this year found the following were the top 10 resolutions:
21% Weight loss
14% Improve finances
9% Healthier eating
8% Manage stress better.
There were also a few less common resolutions, such as, “spend more time with my pet spiders” and “turn up to work more often”. This survey also revealed some interesting statistics about New Years resolutions. For instance, almost 40% of people actually make at least one resolution. More than half of those wrote it down somewhere. Of the 40% of the population who make a New Years resolution, a third of that group have given up before the end of January and the large majority of people don’t make it to the end of the first quarter of the year. In fact, less than 10% of those who made New Years resolutions were successful in achieving their goals. This poses a question: is having resolutions worth the effort in the first place? For many people the answer is “yes”, because having any type of focus is important. Perhaps the more essential question is not about whether having resolutions is a good thing, but are there any strategies which increase the likelihood of success?
A few years ago, Professor Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, tracked 5,000 people as they attempted to achieve their New Years resolutions. His team found those who failed stated they had made resolutions, but had no set goal, no plan and had not written down their resolutions. According to Professor Wiseman, these people had the basic ingredient of the recipe for failure.
10 Key Tips for Success with New Years Resolutions.
Professor Wiseman and his researchers took a closer look at that small group of individuals who were successful with their resolutions. They were not driven or obsessive people. Nor were they fanatical about achieving outcomes or ensuring success. Instead, the research team found they all, to some degree, did the following 10 things, which Professor Wiseman believes gave them the edge on everyone else who set themselves a New Years resolution.
Those who were successful shared the following characteristics.
- Made only one resolution and put energy into changing that one aspect of his or her behaviour.
- Started thinking about their resolutions well before New Years Eve to have time to reflect on what they wanted.
- Avoided previous resolutions. They didn’t revisit failure.
- Didn’t go with the usual resolutions. Instead they thought about what he or she really wanted out of life.
- Broke the resolution goal into small steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that were concrete, measurable and time-based.
- Told their friends and family about their goals. This built commitment and provided a support network.
- Regularly reminded themselves of the benefits of achieving their goals. Some created a checklist of how their life would improve once the goal was achieved.
- Gave themselves small rewards whenever a milestone was met. This developed a sense of progress.
- Made their plans concrete by graphing their progress in a diary, on a spreadsheet or on a pin-board.
- Expected to have some setbacks from time to time and treated any failure as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up.