So many of us make New Year’s resolutions at this time of the year, but so few of us keep them. Have you ever wondered why we keep making them, and why we don’t seem to follow through? We all have something we’d like to improve upon, whether it is self-improvement or improved quality of life for the ones around us, and most of us can come up with not only one but a virtual list of things we’d like to do better in the year ahead. We may want to get out of debt, lose weight, quit smoking, get a better job, volunteer more often, or even something as simple as laugh more, but something always seems to get in our way. A study conducted in 2007 by Richard Wiseman of the University of Bristol, showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail. Men seemed to achieve their goal more often when they had a clear cut plan of attack and set a distinct time-frame for accomplishment, while women succeeded more often with the support of friends and family.
There are various reasons that we may not reach the goals that we set for the first of the year. First is timing. Many set goals to quit smoking at 12:01am on New Year’s Day, but are unable to keep the promise they made to themselves because they are right in the middle of a celebration. Smoking is a very social habit and seems to go hand in hand with drinking. Setting a goal to quit smoking while at a party with friends and family may not be the most reasonable objective to try to accomplish. Setting a more realistic time or day to quit, such as January 2nd or 3rd may prove to be more successful. Many resolve to lose weight commencing on the 1st, but can’t seem to stay on track with all of the holiday leftovers still in the fridge. February 1st may be a better time to begin a new healthy eating regimen. There is much less temptation once the holiday dinner parties are well behind us. If your resolution is to get out of debt, don’t become discouraged if you aren’t able to save while trying to pay off your holiday expenditures during the first few months of the year. You will be much more successful if you set a new budget for yourself after the holiday bills are paid off (hopefully within the first few months of the year).
Keeping Resolutions to Yourself
So many of us keep our resolutions private so that we are not poorly judged in the event of failure. Although this sounds like a reasonable means of protection, it is actually a huge hindrance to our success. Sharing your goals with friends and family can be your greatest asset. The ones closest to you want to see you succeed and can be a great support system, no matter what your goal may be. Keeping aspirations to yourself exhibits clear signs of negativity and that you, yourself, are not even sure if you can succeed. Let friends help you through the process – They may even join in your quest!
Sometimes we make resolutions that are just too unobtainable. Although it’s always great to dream big, the goal should be within reach if you expect to actually attain it. If you would like to donate more to the poor in the upcoming year, or buy your first home in 2015, you need to make sure that this is something that your wallet can accommodate. It is surely a noble gesture to be able to help others but in today’s tough economic times, it just may not be feasible at the moment and may have to wait until the second half of the year to start. Owning your own home is also a great accomplishment, but now just might not be the best time for you to deplete your savings. You may want to give these types of resolutions a 2 year time-frame to get your finances in order. Who said you can’t have a 2 year New Year’s resolution? They are your resolutions, so make whatever rules you want.
Keep your aspirations to be a better you, and to better your community, even if you don’t get there the first time around. There’s always a second chance waiting for you. And as we’ve all been told at some time or another it is better to try and fail than to not try at all.