It’s that time of year again – resolution time. Now, sit down with a pen and paper and come up with some great resolutions for the New Year. This is always a time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. Based on past research, more than one third of Americans, including a majority of those under 45, will make New Year’s resolutions this year. Most resolutions fail because of misunderstood willpower. Just like a muscle, willpower is a limited resource and because we misunderstand this, millions of Americans are making resolutions right now that will be violated by mid January. Here are some very popular New Year’s Resolutions that will never come true:
1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
Recent polls show that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.
2. Get Fit
Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.
3. Weight Loss
Over two-thirds of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions.
4. Quit Smoking
Isn’t everyone who smokes really trying to quit?
5. Enjoy Life More
Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that “enjoying life more” is a popular resolution.
6. Quit Drinking
If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available.
7. Get Out of Debt
Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. Google Dave Ramsey.
8. Learn Something New
Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep.
9. Help Others
A popular, non-selfish New Year’s resolution is volunteering.
10. Get Organized
Personal or professional organization always makes the top ten lists.
Everybody knows that the bicep has limitations: If we ask the muscle to hold too much, it will give out and drop everything on the floor. The implications of this muscle metaphor are vast. If willpower is limited, making lots of New Year’s resolutions is exactly the wrong way to go about changing your habits. Human routines are stubborn. Creating new behavior is difficult because bad habits are hard to break – and they’re almost impossible to break if you try to break them all at once. It is silly to try to quit smoking, lose weight, exercise, spend more time with friends and get organized at the same time. When you ask yourself to do all of that at the same time you are most definitely asking for too much. Instead, you should respect that fact that willpower is limited and concentrate on the success of one resolution over the entire year.
Rather than making a list of resolutions this year, try picking just one. Start backwards and think about what would make 2014 a success for you. What would you like to be telling everyone at the holidays next year when they ask you how 2014 was?
Fill in the blank:
2014 was a great year because I ______________________________________________.
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