Why New Year Doesn’t Mean New You

It’s that time of year again: The shiny, new beginning.
In the flurry of the New Year, Americans are doing what they’re good at: making resolutions. In 2015, America wants to lose weight, eat healthier, spend more time at home, quit smoking, and hopefully become better than the year before—like we’ve wanted to for at least the past decade.

Sadly, out of the 45 percent of Americans who make resolutions, only about 8 percent of those people ever achieve their goals. After just one month, most have given up completely.

Nobody makes New Year’s resolutions thinking that they’ll drop them when they get too hard, or that they won’t carry through. 45 percent of us decide our goals for this New Year, and start off great. Here are a few reasons why we never see them through to the finish line:

You can’t reach a goal you don’t know you’re reaching for. Instead of aiming to lose weight in 2015, try “lose 10 lbs in 2 months”. Setting small, clear goals make achievements stand out.

Let’s face it: we want it all. We want to eat healthier, we want to be better people…We want everything, and we want it now. The good news is, it’s possible—but not all at once.
Take goals one at a time. Set a resolution, and break it down into small, achievable parts. Instead of just aiming to be a better person, try to volunteer locally at a shelter or soup kitchen once a month. Don’t try to do everything at once—overachieving can easily lead to feeling like a complete failure, if done well.

Going With the Flow
We’re all busy, and we’ve all got things to do, places to be, and people to meet.

Somewhere along the way, we’ll get around to reaching our achievements. (Right?)
Actually, no.

Setting a specific time or deadline for a goal is paramount to getting something done. If your resolution is something along the lines of just doing something or becoming something, and there is no deadline or specific plan, you’re (very much) doomed. Headed for failure, even.

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, people who specifically make resolutions are 10 times likelier to fulfill their goal.

Tip: take your resolution, and break it into easy, manageable pieces. If you want to spend more time at home with family, plan a specific way to get home earlier once or twice a week. If you want to study more, pick a day and time when you’ll study—and only study. Setting goals with open endings removes a need of urgency and leaves our resolutions looking a lot like last year’s.

With all this resolution, “New Year, new me” talk, here’s an important thing to remember: You can begin your resolutions at any time! A New Year isn’t essential to a new you. Take the time to set your goal clearly, break it down into manageable pieces and plan it according to your schedule. Do this, and you might end up being that 8 percent of America!