New Year's Resolutions - "I want to be healthy...this time I mean it."

Every year, millions of Americans set New Year’s resolutions related to improving their overall health.  Often times, poor planning and commitment result in failed resolutions.  In fact, 46% of people who make resolutions are able to keep them for at least six months.  Further, only 8% of people are able to keep their resolutions through the end of the year!  Why do people fail at achieving their New Year’s resolutions?  One of the main reasons is that people set their resolutions for the wrong reason.  Often it is the case that resolutions are set for externally motivating reasons, such as, “I want to look good for my class reunion.”  In order to promote more successful resolutions, practitioners encourage people to set resolutions that are internally motivating, such as, “I have a desire to be healthy and see my kids grow old.”  Another reason people often fail is they expect their resolutions are going to be easy.  Further, they may not plan for discomfort or barriers and give up when faced with adversity. In fact, 71% of successful resolvers at six months said that their first slip-up strengthened their efforts.  One final reason why people may fall short of achieving their resolution is a tendency to focus on the short-term satisfaction rather than seeing the long-term pay out.

The percentage of individuals who kept their New Year’s resolutions throughout the year.

The percentage of individuals who kept their New Year’s resolutions throughout the year.

So how can we ensure success for our New Year’s resolutions?  First, start by creating a specific action plan.  It is important to set a realistic, attainable goal.  Using SMART goal setting strategies can be an effective way to outline a specific New Year’s resolution plan.  Second, it is important to approach your resolution with confidence. Facing challenges and barriers with the confidence that you can handle and overcome them will help ensure that any slip-ups only further your desire to achieve your resolution.  Finally, social support can play a huge role in a successful resolution.  Publicly declare your resolution, whether it is through social media, telling a friend, significant other, or family.  It is important to incorporate successful strategies in order to improve self-efficacy, self-esteem, and a healthy lifestyle.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to nutrition, exercise, stress management, and goal setting.  Further, we can assist in helping you develop a specific action plan that will help you achieve your New Year’s resolution.

By Matt Lewandowski


Sources:  Keeping New Years Resolutions:  What Works for Your Patients?  John Watson, Medscape, January 4, 2017.