We may be starting off the New Year soaked to the bone in Bibb, but the odds are most of us will be making grand declarations of determination that 2019 will be better than 2018. The ubiquitous “New Year’s Resolution” occupies a place in our heads this time of year, whether we claim to set one or not.
According to a 2007 study by the University of Bristol, 88% of people who set New Year resolutions for themselves failed at maintaining it throughout the year. Another survey from a firm in Australia in 2014, showed that 35% of people said they set unrealistic goals in their resolutions, while 33% didn’t keep track of their progress, and 23% forgot about them altogether. So why do we bother, and how did this become a thing at all?
Perhaps it’s the Babylonians’ fault, or the Romans? Both of those cultures had traditions of making promises to their gods at the beginning of each year. Medieval knights would take vows of chivalry after the Christmas season as well. There are many possible religious sources of this tradition, including Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement. Maybe it just makes sense that throughout the ages, humans endeavored to improve ourselves on a personal level, and reflecting on the past year has always caused us to want to close that book and start a new, better one for the coming year. As is the cliché, and title of this article, “New Year, new you.”
Comment below and tell us what New Year resolutions you’ve managed to keep and how. What was your key to success?
Some studies have shown that the most common resolutions are the most likely to be kept successfully, such as losing weight, donating to charities, or saving money. It’s also more likely that a goal that can be set and measured incrementally – lose a pound a week, save an extra $100 per month, etc. – is more likely to be a successful resolution than a vague or broadly generalized one, such as “complain less” or “be more organized.” This especially holds true for men, according to one study that said men tend to do better with small, incremental goals where progress can be observed along the way toward an ultimate destination.
I know that for myself, a male of the species, this tends to hold true. Several years in a row I found myself setting resolutions to lose weight, get in shape, save money, and quit smoking. Those never worked for me as resolutions because they were too generalized. Well, quitting smoking wasn’t so much generalized as it was not planned well enough. I can say proudly that I have achieved that one this past year, however. Although I am still vaping, I have not had a cigarette in months now, ending a decades long bad habit. I can’t say I achieved this because of a New Year resolution, though. It just happened organically as I became more disgusted with how I smelled like an ashtray constantly. Perhaps there are many of you readers who might set this goal for yourselves this year? I certainly feel better for it, and as a side effect am also saving money.
When it comes to other common resolutions, I personally haven’t had much success in the past. Lose weight…no. Travel more…how much is more? Get out of debt…yeah right. Perhaps you’ve had more direct success with your resolutions?
Some of the most common resolutions:
- Donate to charities more
- Be more environmentally responsible
- Eat healthier
- Lose weight
- Exercise more
- Drink alcohol less
- Quit smoking
- Be more positive in your mental outlook
- Save money
- Get out of debt
- Invest your money for the future
- Change careers
- Get a raise or better job
- Go back to school
- Learn a new language
- Learn to play an instrument
- Read more books – or at least one
- Become more organized
- Be less grumpy
- Watch less television
- Travel more – or plan a specific trip
- Volunteer in your community
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Spend less time on social media
- Pray more, or strive to be more spiritual
Have you tried any of these in the past? Comment below and tell us what New Year resolutions you’ve managed to keep and how. What was your key to success?
Happy New Year!