Making your New Year’s resolutions work

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What are New Year’s resolutions?

  1. Resolutions are actions you promise to do to make yourself better.
  2. You write them down and promise to start doing them at the start of a new year.
  3. These can be about improving your health, career, education or spiritual life.
  4. It can be a promise to stop bad habits or start good ones.

It is a New Year tradition. You make it hoping for a better year ahead.

Do people keep their resolutions?

  1. Studies say that only 8% of people who make resolutions succeed in keeping them.
  2. 75% of resolutions are continued until the first week of January.
  3. Only 46% make it beyond six months.

Why should you make New Year’s resolutions?

  1. Trying makes you a better person.
    • The value is in the experience, not the end result.
    • When you make a resolution, you:
      • Think about your life
      • Want to make improvements
      • Write plans with good intentions
    • These are all good actions that can make you better.
    • You see your needs, goals, and potentials.
  2. You could be part of the 8% who keep them. You can be more disciplined than you thought.
  3. Resolutions can help you focus. It is a guide to help you get what you want in life.

Tips for making resolutions that work

  1. Plan ahead.
    • Make the list before Dec. 31st.
    • Think of what you want to achieve next year.
    • Example: Improve your health in 2024 if you got sick in 2023.
    • Make your list. Set your mind to achieve your plans.
    • It is a commitment. Don’t take it lightly.
  2. Make positive goals
    • Habits are hard to break.
    • Don’t start resolutions with “I will not”, “I will never”, or “I will stop”. They will be impossible to do.
    • Set positive goals.
    • Example: Not “I will never eat junk food again.” It should be: “I will eat two servings of vegetables per day” or “I will have a piece of fruit for a midday snack every day”.
  3. Be realistic
    • Stopping all wars or getting rid of poverty are great goals.
    • But they will not happen soon.
    • Make goals that can be accomplished in your lifetime.
  4. Start small
    • You can have big goals but start small with actions you can do now.
    • Example: If you want to stop wars, start with small wars in your life. You can:
      • Be kind to all people of various cultures.
      • Learn more about diversity.
      • Make peace with a friend or family member you had an argument with.
    • Example: If you want to end poverty. Start by
      • volunteering at charities
      • helping in a soup kitchen
    • A little effort goes a long way.
  5. Be specific
    • Make your resolution specific and detailed.
    • Example: Bad -“I will be healthy in 2024”. Good:
      • “I will attend Zumba three times a week”
      • “I will eat two serving of fruits every day”
      • “I will go to yoga classes twice a week”
  6. Make short term goals
    • Your goals do not have to take one year to accomplish.
    • It takes between 21 and 66 days for a new activity to become a habit.
    • Make goals that last for one to six months.
    • It can make it easier for you to keep them.
  7. Say them
    • Tell your goals to someone.
    • People close to you will support you.
    • They will encourage you when you feel like giving up.
  8. Get support
    • Ask a trainer, a mentor/teacher, your husband, wife, or best friend to help you stick to your resolutions.
    • Ask them to join you.
    • Example: Ask your partner to jog with you.
    • You will have a better chance of jogging thrice a week if your husband or wife jogs with you.
    • Learning some thing new or improving your language skills is more fun when you do it with your friends.
  9. Reward yourself
    • Enjoy your achievements.
    • Rewards can help you stick to your goals.
    • Example: Buy a new shirt when you lose five pounds. Get a new tie, bag or shoes after you have not smoked cigarettes for a month.
  10. Record your progress
    • Seeing improvement can encourage you.
    • Write down your progress weekly or monthly.
    • Forgive yourself when you miss your goal. But never give up!
    • You can do it!

Article updated November 27, 2023.
Sources: How to keep your New Year’s Resolutions, Art Markman, Time Magazine; Why your New Year’s Resolutions won’t work, and what will, William Vanderbloemen, Forbes; Top 10 reasons you don’t stick to your resolutions, Jené Luciani, Shape.

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