New Year. New You. Advice on Staying True to New Year’s Resolutions
Bye 2022!! One more day to think it over! Will you or won’t you make a resolution/s for 2023? If so, will you make one or more? What will the resolution/s be? How do you see yourself being mindful as it relates to your resolution/s?
Statistics show both higher and lower percentages of Americans making resolutions each year based upon their age. According to a survey by Scholaroo of 1,500 Americans, 40% of Americans ages 18-29 plan to make resolutions compared to 14% of Americans 65 years or older.
I do make at least one resolution a year that I very much work to stick to. Sometimes I succeed and other times I have failed. I am committed to my individual personal development and see resolutions as part of that process.
The beginning of the new year; 2023 brings about the opportunity to make resolutions. A resolution is a statement of what you want to change. As a therapist, a common misconception I often see people make if they make a resolution is thinking they can only resolve to do something. You can also resolve not to do something as well. A goal is something you want to achieve; which can also connect to your resolution.
An example of both types of resolutions could be to resolve to not take things personally with regard to your in laws and to resolve to focus on boundaries with your in laws. A goal could be to increase the number of positive interactions with your in law family in 2023.
Not sure what would be a good resolution? There are a lot of choices. If it matters to you; it is good. According to Statista, America’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2023 are:
- Exercise More
- Eat Heathlier
- Lose Weight
- Save money
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Spend less time on social media
- Reduce stress on the job
- reduce spending on living expenses
It is not uncommon to loose focus or drop focus on a resolution. You can always begin again after a setback. Researchers have found that typically 77% of people are only able to keep their resolutions for 1 week, 64% keep them for one month, 50% for 3 months, and only 19% are able to keep their resolutions for over one year! (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11920693)
If you’re feeling guilty for not being able to stick with your resolutions, here are some ways you can work to stay true to them:
Be Sure The Resolution is Doable
Many people may set themselves up for failure by setting unrealistic resolutions. In order to be successful, you’ve got to pick the right resolution, meaning, it has got to be personal to you, it has got to be achievable by you, and you have to create a plan to get there.
Take It Slow
If your resolution is to exercise more, don’t plan on working out for two hours each day, six days a week. Your body won’t be able to handle that if you’ve been inactive for some time. It will feel painful and you’ll want to give up. Instead, start small and build gradually. Decide to go to the gym twice a week for half an hour, then three times a week for an hour, etc.
Tackle One Resolution at a Time
Starting with one resolution and honing that is better than making several that you don’t have the capacity to focus on all at once.
Use Mindfulness to Track Your Progress
Notice without judgement or blame how you are doing daily, weekly, etc on your resolution. Use your insights to further refine your ability to note successes and challenges as they relate to your resolution/s.
Make a Plan & Write it Down
Having a resolution or plan in your head, is not the same as writing it down. Once you have a resolution you want to focus on; write it down. Keep coming back to it daily, weekly, monthly and making a plan that makes sense for you.
Share Your Resolution
I recommend sharing your resolution with at least one person and updating them weekly on how it is going. Sometimes it is helpful to have a buddy of sorts that will be working on the same resolution or who will serve as your check-in point for one another to see how you are doing.
Have a Mantra of Progress Over Perfection
Progress day after day is the goal. Getting stuck on “perfect” will serve to get in the way of your ability to enjoy your life. Change is hard. At times the change we are seeking (aka resolutions) can also face resistance from us as well. The goal is to balance change and resistance at the same time so that you move toward your version of progress at your own pace.
Day To Day Focus
Quitter’s Day is the second Friday in January. This year that is January 13, 2023. This is the day when the majority of people who made resolutions gave up. This was determined by Strava, after analyzing 98.3 million uploaded exercise activities. Day to day focus on your resolutions will make them more real as you work to integrate the changes you are wanting into your day to day life.
I believe that a focus point of our lives is to be better and grow over time as individuals as we move through our lifespan. Whether you choose to make a New Year’s resolution or not, you have the ability to focus more on what it is you want out of your life this year. Make 2023 yours!