New Year’s Resolutions

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January 1st can mean a number of things to people. It can mean an extra paid day off, a day to watch football with family and friends, or simply a day to lie on the couch recovering from the prior night’s celebration. And for many people, January 1st also signifies the formation of New Year’s resolutions!

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is the desire to lose weight, get back into shape, or to finally fit into those favorite jeans again. Other favorite resolutions are to save more money, have less stress in life, be more organized, spend more time with family, and volunteer more often. However, the one thing all of these resolutions have in common is the potential to end in broken promises and the guilty feeling of not accomplishing one’s goal. In fact, some people no longer make New Year’s resolutions because they don’t want to set themselves up for failure.

Fortunately, there are a few tricks or “systematic methods of goal setting” to consider before giving up on New Year’s resolutions all together. The first and most important is to make sure your resolution or goal is measurable. It is not enough to say, “I want to lose weight.” A better way to set this goal is to ask yourself a few questions such as, “How much weight do I want to lose?” and “How many months would it take to achieve this goal?” It is a good idea to set both a short-term goal and a long-term goal. For example, you may decide upon a short-term goal of losing 1 pound a week for 6 weeks and a long-term goal of losing 24 pounds in 6 months. Well-defined resolutions define your goal and provide a concrete way to measure a goal such as weight loss.

In addition to making New Year’s resolutions that are measurable, make sure your resolution is realistic. Most people, with the right diet and exercise plan, can lose between 1 and 2 pounds a week. Sure, there are people who can achieve more; but realistically, quick weight loss is not usually the healthiest way to maintain a healthy body weight. Besides, setting the goal of 1 pound a week means that it is a huge success if you achieve a 3-pound loss in one week!

Another important tip is to have a good support system in place. It is very difficult to stick with a new goal when there is no one on your side as a helper and cheerleader. Think of people in your life who are encouraging and can help you stay accountable. Your support system should be comprised of people who understand your New Year’s resolution plan and are not going to sabotage it. People in your support system can also have the same goals or be striving for something similar.

So, after that clock strikes midnight on January 1st, keep in mind these little tricks and see what happens with your 2012 New Year’s resolutions. There is a good chance you will not be giving up if you set a realistic, measurable goal and enlist the support of a good friend to help you stay on track!

DID YOU KNOW? FAST FACTS ABOUT NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS:

  • 63% of people say they are keeping their resolutions after two months
  • 67% of people make three or more resolutions

Top four resolutions:

  • Increase exercise
  • Be more conscientious about work or school
  • Develop better eating habits
  • Stop smoking, drinking, or using drugs (including caffeine)
  • People make more resolutions to start a new habit than to break an old one.

Fast Facts Source: Schwarz, Joel. “How to keep up with those New Year’s resolutions, researchers find commitment is the secret of success.” University of Washington. 23 December 1997. 27 Dec 2010.

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