Why We Struggle With Resolutions

If you watched SNL New Year’s Episode 2014, you may recall the skit, “Resolution Revolution.” The video short featured Drake, who incidentally hosted the episode, along with cast members Taran Killam, Jay Pharaoh, and Sasheer Zameda singing about how much easier it is to make New Years Resolutions than it is to keep them. The skit features characters meaningfully making vows to swear off everything from drinking to fantasy role playing on the first of January, only to realize that by January 18 their intentions have been all but abandoned.

Let’s face it; no one makes New Year’s Resolutions with the intention of breaking them, but all too often, that’s what happens. What starts out as a newly paved road to a better destination ends up in an ill -planned detour.

New Year's Resolutions
Resolution Facts

  1. Fifty percent of American make New Year’s resolutions, but, of that number, nearly half will fail to keep them through to December.
  2. Demographics make no difference in the likelihood to see a resolution through. Things such as income, gender, age, and parental status have no effect on the success rate.
  3. Thirty one percent of resolution makers say they abandoned their goals within a month after making them.
  4. Of those who made it to the other side of January, 76% of them are still following them. That means that if you make it past January 30, you are 3 times more likely to stick with it.

Self discipline expert Rory Vaden explains, “Sticking to New Year’s Resolution is a perennial challenge. There are many contributing factors, but at the end of the day, it simply comes down to lack of self-discipline. Yes, its tough to make real changes-but the irony is that if we can just make it past the one-month mark, we are three times more likely to make permanent change.”

Resolution Tips

Woman working out

One Resolution at a Time
Research shows that shifting attention between tasks increases the time to complete them by 25 %. Similarly, the more goals you set for yourself, the less energy you have to devote to each one, and this increases your chances of failure. Pick one resolution and stick to it.

Make it Worth it
Resolutions are commitments, and like all commitments, failure to keep them should result in a consequence. You may want to put your money where your mouth is. Vaden uses the example of a friend who promised $2500 to a business partner if he failed to lose fifty pounds within six months, a goal which he made sure to achieve. Of course, you don’t need to bet, but the more you risk, the more likely you are to follow through.

Give Yourself an ‘E’ for effort.
Don’t give up if you don’t see results right away. That’s where the 30 days come in. Research shows that if you can make it past the first 30 days, you will see the possibility of long-term change. While waiting to see that change, keep focused on your efforts rather than seeing a noticeable change,

Weekly Check-ins
Make a weekly appointment with yourself to evaluate progress, but remember effort, not results! Give yourself points for walking past the donut stand even if the number on the scale remains the same. Remember-30 days!

Have an Accountability Partner
Self discipline is great, but if that fails, its always good to have a backup. Tell a friend about your goal and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.

What resolution did you make this year and how are you doing? Are you making it to the 30-day mark? Let us know! We’ll root for you!


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