A New Year resolution is a commitment that we as individuals make to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. This lifestyle change is generally interpreted as advantageous… to better our fulfill our life or better our situation. A New Years Resolution is generally a goal we set out to accomplish in the coming year. Some examples include resolutions to donate to the poor more often, to become more assertive, or to become more environmentally responsible. A key element to a New Years Resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year, and new beginnings.
There are religious parallels to this secular tradition. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek, and offer, forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Christian fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.
A 2007 study by psychologist and author Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, and those who succeed have 5 traits in common. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.
Here are 9 simple solutions to help us beat the odds in renewing, if not keeping, our resolutions for the year 2011:
- Write it down and post it where you’ll see it everyday, such as on your refrigerator or computer monitor.
- The first thing in the morning, do something to support your resolution– even if it’s just taking the dog out for an early walk.
- Listen to a motivational cd, read a self-help book (I like to keep audio books in the car!) or take a class on the health habit you want to change.
- Put it in your daily calendar and make it a priority.
- Post inspiring quotes in your work area or on your refrigerator.
- Search out different places or environments to do your resolution to keep it fresh, interesting, and fun.
- Ask for help from family members and friends who will support your efforts.
- Volunteer to support someone who is also trying to change their habits. Text messages, emails, and phone calls are all good ways to send encouragement.
- Start a savings jar or any other reward system– add a dollar (or pound or peso!) for each day you keep your resolution. Set a goal and reward yourself when you reach it.
As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” Just because today is the 10th of March, we have no excuse not to pick up where we left off and continue working on our lifestyle changes for this 2011 year.