“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
As we ready ourselves to say goodbye to 2012, it starts the age-old tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions, a commitment to one or more personal goals, to reform a habit or complete a project. Among the most popular resolutions are lose weight, exercise, stop smoking and reduce debt.
Recently I read about a study conducted in 2007 involving 3,000 people. Despite the fact that 52% of the participants were confident of success at the start, 88% of those people failed to follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. Why is the failure rate so high when we have the best intentions?
Many people make resolutions as a way to motivate themselves, but often they aren’t ready to give up that bad habit. People may lose the weight or begin to exercise believing their life will change and when it doesn’t they get discouraged. These unrealistic expectations often send people back to their bad habits.
Another reason for failure is not being specific. Saying you want to lose weight is great, but saying you want to lose ten pounds over a three month period is more specific. It’s also wise to focus on one resolution. The more simplified and focused, the greater your chances are at success.
Sharing your resolutions with family members and friends can often make them more sustainable. Encouragement from a loved one can keep you on track when your mind begins to fill with self-doubt. If you find yourself struggling with your resolutions, remember the new year isn’t only about making changes in your life, it’s also a time to be thankful for the gift of another year. Get excited and believe that something great will happen in 2013!