Do We Fail The New Year’s Resolution or Does the Resolution Fail us?

Posted: January 18, 2010 by Matthew Casey in Articles
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It’s now been eighteen days since 2010 has started.  If you made a New Year’s resolution are you still at it?  Or are you like one of the many who have probably given up and are already striving to achieve it next year?  Well if you have given up on your resolution already you’re most likely not alone.   In reading an article recently I came across a study that really shed some light on why so many of us can’t keep up our resolutions.  It might not be that we fail the resolution but rather the resolution fails us.

According to a report in the UK Guardian Journal  a study by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, people who made large and general resolutions to do things such as lose weight or quit smoking only had a 35% chance of being successful.  The study found that  people who  instead broke up their goals into stages  had about a 50% chance of being successful.  So it would appear that making a general statement is not achievable by most people.   By doing that people are setting themselves up to fail by creating a resolution that will fail them.

Also found in the study was that of the people who were 50% more likely to achieve their goals, these people kept diaries of their progress and also talked to their friends about their achievements which kept them motivated to keep at their resolution.

I can attest to this because after embarking on a goal to lose weight myself last year, I noticed that when keeping my friends informed of my progress I felt as though I had to be accountable.  I didn’t want to disappoint anyone by telling them that I had given up, so I kept on exercising and eventually achieved my goal.  Another key fact that I noticed in the study was that people who did have occasional lapses in their goals shrugged them off as “temporary setbacks” rather than getting down on themselves.   The moral of this story is to just keep going and don’t dwell on your mistakes or you will get yourself down and ultimately fail.

So if you have given up on your resolution already you can still get back into it.   Just try the steps that were outlined in the study like breaking your goal up into segments and keeping a diary of your progress so you have tangible evidence of any success.  Instead of saying “I’m going to quit smoking this year” start off by saying “I’m going to go from two packs a week to one.” Just start out small and as you make progress keep cutting back and hopefully you will be successful and won’t have to make the same resolution next year.

—Matthew Casey

To read the full article by Ian Sample visit:


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