Have you made a New Year’s resolution? Eight out of 10 Canadians, have, at least at some point. And here’s how it usually goes, by the numbers: 75% hang in for the first week, only 64% are still at it by the end of a month, and 46% stick to it for six months. Complete success is even more elusive. Only 8% of resolution makers actually achieve their goals.
So is the tradition of vowing to change on January 1st just hokey? The experts agree that pegging the desire to change to a specific date—actually increases motivation. It doesn’t have to be January 1st. Any important date, like a birthday or anniversary – could work just as well. . The researchers believe having a landmark start date is important because it creates a “before” and an “after,” where our bad habits can be put into the past and our newly improved selves inhabit the after.
They also say the key to success is setting realistic goals and starting small. If your long-term plan is losing 30 lbs., don’t resolve to do it all in a couple of months. Go for 5. Once you achieve that you can declare victory and go for another five. The thinking is, If you fail to accomplish a big goal, you begin to believe that it’s impossible and you give up on it. Psychologists say we have to recognize that it will take small steps in order to accomplish big things.