How Many People Actually Stick to Their New Year’s Resolution?

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Each year, like clockwork, we make promises to ourselves to lose weight, start eating healthier, and quit that nasty habit. However, how many people actually succeed in those goals? New Year’s resolutions are notorious for being broken, and while it’s still an area that needs much more research, we can still take a look at the numbers to find out why people succeed and fail in their goals.

The History of New Year’s Resolutions

Before looking at how many people actually succeed in their resolutions, it’s helpful to take a brief look at the history and popularity of resolutions as a whole. New Year’s resolutions actually have a long, long history, dating back through the Roman and Medieval eras, in which the new year represented a chance to renew commitments – sound familiar? While previous traditions often had a religious element to them, New Year’s resolutions as we know them now are quite secular. However, many religious customs still incorporate promises of reflection and improvement, which are very similar to New Year’s resolutions.

How Likely People Are to Stick to Their Resolutions

While we have a general idea of where New Year’s resolutions come from, we aren’t so sure as to how successful people were in accomplishing their goals. It wasn’t until within the past hundred years that researchers began conducting surveys to find this information out, and even then, there isn’t a wealth of information to go off of. However, the surveys that have been held found that a little under half of Americans participate in New Year’s resolutions. Of those people, only 10 to 20 percent stick to their resolutions!

Why People Fail Their Resolutions

There are many factors that affect how likely people are to stick to their resolutions. While a person discipline certainly plays a part, the biggest reasons that resolutions fail often involve the resolutions themselves. For instance, people who take on vague resolutions–or too many of them–are less likely to succeed. One of the most surprising factors, however, lies in how popular the resolution is. According to researchers, some who take up the more common resolutions, like quitting smoking, are ten times more likely to succeed in their goal.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Odds

So, what can you do to improve your chances of sticking to your resolution? For one, you should go into your resolution with an optimistic mindset; those that do are more likely to succeed. As shown above, you should also tailor your goal to make it more achievable. Experts say that the best goals are specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. Picking a more popular resolution will increase your odds, because those are well-tread areas of improvement with more resources out there for you to make use of.

It’s important not to get too caught up on the statistics of New Year’s resolution successes and failures. After all, every person is different and has their own difficulties with keeping goals. Use these statistics to inform your own tactics, but also take some time to tailor your plan of success in the way that makes the most sense to you. With a little thought, you’ll hopefully be ready for a new resolution next year!

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