It’s that time of year again. Time to set your New Year’s resolutions.
According to Statistic Brain, 41% of Americans USUALLY make New Year’s resolutions, 42% NEVER make resolutions, and in the middle of the road 17% of American’s INFREQUENTLY make resolutions. Therefore, you likely fall into one of the two most popular categories when it comes to resolutions. You either embrace it firmly, religiously making out your list even before the New Year starts, and vow defiantly to make it all happen this year, or you guffaw at the ludicrous notion that any reasonable human being truly believes they will stick with any resolution long term or even long enough to elicit any sort of change. I happen to be of the former group, and I’ll tell you why.
I think of New Year’s resolutions in the same manner I view religion. No matter what your beliefs, what is the harm in believing in something good that promotes focusing on living a virtuous, healthy (physically, emotionally or spiritually), joyful life? Like religion, resolutions entice us with these same possibilities and act as reminders to constantly re-evaluate our position and question whether we are still on the right trajectory. Even if neither turn out to be true, your life cannot be made worse by pursuing a more “righteous” path. The New Year is a perfect time to let go of any limiting beliefs or pursuits that no longer serve you. If your trajectory is off, now is your chance to realign yourself.
The power of intention is real, my friends. Don’t take it from me. A study from Statistic Brain found that people who explicitly make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals than those who don’t. That’s like the lottery saying, “You can’t win if you don’t play” if you ask me. So, get in the game!
If you need some ideas, here are the top ten New Years resolutions for 2017 (according to Statistic Brain):
- Lose Weight/Healthier Eating
- Life/Self Improvements
- Better Financial Decisions
- Quit Smoking
- Do more exciting things
- Spend more time with Family/Friends
- Work out more often
- Learn something new
- Do more good deeds for others
- Find the Love of my life
- Find a better job
If adding anything more to your already loaded and teetering plate seems implausible, try to think of your resolutions in terms of things you’re NOT going to do, i.e. habits to kick. For example, I’m going to disconnect from electronics more often to make time for more important things (or people). If you’re a people-pleaser (guilty!), learn to say no, and make your own needs more important this year. Vow to stop committing to things that don’t serve your agenda merely out of a sense of obligation.
Whatever you decide, keep it small, keep it simple, and keep it reasonable. Research shows that willpower is like a muscle in that it wears out with over-exertion over time. Many Americans fail at maintaining their resolutions because they started out with a huge laundry list with competing agendas. Be kind to yourself by being reasonable. Don’t expect to quit smoking and lose weight at the same time. Small, attainable steps will help to ensure long-term success vs a large overhaul. Remember that any amount of change is still progress. It’s more important to recognize the areas of your life that need change, and simply draw your focus to them so you can make better decisions daily that add up to big changes over time.
Happy Resoluting! Yup, I made that word up. It’s mine and I like it.