New Month’s Resolution

With the releasing of party poppers and the eruption of sound as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve comes the deluge of resolutions people swear to keep…at least  until the end of January. New Year’s resolutions are famous for being forgotten before the first few months of the year are out, yet people still make them.  According to a study conducted on January 1st of last year by the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% actually keep them.

According to Ms. Pospisil, school psychologist, New Year’s resolutions arise from many people’s need to “change something about their behavior,” and the bottom line is that they fail. Ms. Pospisil said that most individuals “focus more on lofty hopes rather than creating a plan for achieving change.”  In addition, according to the Wall Street Journal, the human brain is simply incapable of maintaining the level of focus and discipline it takes to stick to multiple resolutions. With the barrage of stimulation the brain receives, the addition of trying to focus on eating one thing instead of another or making sure everything has its place becomes too tiresome and the resolution fails.

Ms. Pospisil had some tips for those who made resolutions that they want to stick to. She said it is important to make your goal attainable and specific so that you can plan ahead, since it’s easier to stick to routine. Secondly, keep in mind that setbacks are inevitable. You will most likely fall off the wagon, but don’t be so discouraged that you never get back on it. Lastly, be motivated and committed. Stick to your plans, and give it all you’ve got.

In a January 2012 article, the New York Times chimed in with great tips as well. The author of the article, John Tierney, said that it’s important to keep track of the changes you’ve made: pounds lost, shelves built, money saved, etc. He also said that sharing your progress with friends and family can discourage you from giving up once you’ve hit a bump in the road. In addition, frequent rewards reinforce the feeling of success and are proven to make the journey to a better lifestyle much easier.