Achieving successful New Year's resolutions

We have reached that time of year when millions of people will decide to take action about one or more aspects of their lives in the belief that, for some reason, making a decision on the 1st January will enhance the possibility of success more than taking the same decision at any other time of the year. Research has shown that the success rate for New Year’s resolutions is somewhere in the region of 10-20%, so here are some suggestions for making your resolutions more likely to succeed rather than just relying on the mystic properties of a particular date.

  • When thinking about your resolution try not to aim for the stars but set something realistic. If your goal is to give up smoking make your resolution to cut down by a percentage that’s reasonable rather than stopping altogether. If it’s to lose weight then think in terms of single figures not double.
  • Think about your resolution as a series of stepping stones across a stream rather than as a huge jump that you have to make from one bank to the other. Look to achieve your resolution by breaking it up into measurable goals, each one being a reward in itself. Reward will breed encouragement and motivation that will help push you from one stone to the next until you get to your ultimate goal.
  • Research suggests that making our resolutions public can increase the chances of them succeeding. However before doing so work out a plan based around realistic objectives and a strategy based on intermediary sub-goals as mentioned above.
  • Lastly, give a lot of thought to how you are going to sustain your resolution once you’ve achieved it. Finding oneself back at the same place one started from is extremely dispiriting, occasionally leading to the objective of the resolution being worse than it was to begin with.  Something to think about at this stage is to set yourself another goal that’s now only become possible as a direct result of achieving your original resolution. 

Whatever your resolutions for 2016 I wish you the very best of luck and a happy New Year.

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