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Statistics: Top new year resolutions & how to keep them

new year resolutions
Photo: Einar H. Reynis / Unsplash

Did you make any new year's resolutions this year? If you did, you have this in common, with 40 to 45% of American adults.

By far, the top three new year's resolutions are:
- weight loss,
- exercise program,
- stop smoking.

Other frequent resolutions have to do with better money management & debt reduction.

Are you curious about how you fare compared to the rest of your fellow "resolvers"?

Research shows that the percentage of people who maintain new year's resolutions falls sharply as the weeks go by. The following shows how many resolutions are kept as time goes on:
- past the first week: 75%
- past two weeks: 71%
- after one month: 64%
- after six months: 46%

What does this mean to you?

If you're still living by your resolutions, congratulations. Take heart in the fact that you're doing better than many other people. Having held on until now makes you more likely to keep maintaining your resolutions in the future.

I suggest you reflect on what has made it possible for you to stay the course. In other words: bottle your recipe for success, so you can keep drinking from it.

Now, what if you haven't been able to keep to your new year's resolutions, does it mean that it's hopeless?

Not at all. Facing reality is an excellent opportunity to learn from what happened and to tweak your approach. For one thing, you may want to revisit your resolution to make it more specific, so that it is easier to follow. "I will go to the gym three times a week" is much more specific than "I will get into shape." Even more specific would be: "I am registering for a class" or "I am hiring a personal trainer."

A different perspective

But there is something else to be learned from your failure to keep up the resolution. It gives you an incentive to see things differently.

If the change did not happen, it might very well be that you didn't pay enough attention to the part of you that did not want to change. So you now have an incentive to know more about the part of you that is resisting.

Once you get more curious about this process, you'll find it has the potential for liberating tremendous energy toward reaching your goals.

Statisitcs from: Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers, by John C. Norcross, Marci S. Mrykalo, Matthew D. Blagys

See also: Three mindful steps to make successful new year resolutions

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