Are New Year’s Resolutions a Good Idea?

Statistics show that most of us fail at them so should we give up on self improvment?

It’s an American tradition: waking up on New Year’s Day morning hung-over, broke, disorganized, and several pounds fatter then we want to be. To combat all of these unfortunate conditions many of us declare New Year Resolutions, which we hope will help get us back on the road to health and well-being. As expected the most common resolution is to lose weight, followed by getting organized, improved fiscal fitness and enjoying life to the fullest.  

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If that is true, then most Americans are completely crackers, since over 90% of New Year’s Resolutions end in failure. Indeed, 24% of people admit that they have never succeeded in achieving their resolutions.

Still, year after year people use the same tired approaches to achieving their goals, doing the same things and expecting different results. We sign-up for gyms, go for a couple of weeks and then slowly, and guiltily, slide back into our old routines. We vow to get more organized and then start by tackling a closet that is scarier than a haunted house, get discouraged and give up.

A little extra planning and a few techniques will greatly enhance your chances of sticking to your resolution this year and having your best year ever!

Use the 6 p’s of goal setting to refine your resolution:
Your resolution should be positive, present tense, personal, precise, possible and powerful. The more specific and personal you can make your resolution the better. Take a moment to consider what is really important to you and where you want to place your precious, limited energies right now. If your resolution isn’t truly important to you, you probably won’t achieve it.

Focus on one resolution at a time: Studies have shown that humans have limited amounts of willpower, which can easily be hijacked by other life demands and worn out by the end of the day (which is why you are more likely to indulge in the evenings).  To keep your will power muscles as strong as possible eat regular nutritious meals, get plenty of sleep and practice making good, little decisions (which will strengthen your will power muscles for challenging ones).

Distract yourself from temptation: Studies have shown that people who successfully resist temptation often use a distraction technique to help them avoid giving-in. So if you are trying to avoid sweets keep them out of the house and keep your hands busy with other things such as knitting or a video game. When you’re tempted to cheat look at a cute picture of a baby panda or take a walk around the block. When it comes to resisting temptation distraction is your best friend.

What other strategies have helped you stick to your resolutions?

Heather Robinson is the Manager and Fitness Director at Get In Shape for Women in Corte Madera and Mill Valley. Heather specializes in helping real women achieve full body transformations through an integrated fitness, nutrition and wellness coaching program

*Statistics from Statisticsbrain.com

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