As we move into a new year, nearly half of Americans will ponder the direction of their lives and resolve to make changes. These New Year’s goals or resolutions are often abandoned or remain unfulfilled at the turn of the next year.
Not all who set New Year’s resolutions are destined to fail. According to one study, about 40% of New Year’s resolvers are successful six months later. Are efforts to make these resolutions worthwhile? More research says yes—by making a resolution, your chances of success are 10 times higher than those who fail to make resolutions.
The most common resolutions are to change a behavior, such as exercising more, eating healthier, quitting smoking, paying down debt, or being nicer to a family member. Success in reaching your goals actually begins before the New Year. It starts by setting goals that are realistic and attainable. In other words, set a goal that you have confidence in pursuing, even if you slip up occasionally.
Not everyone is ready to make a New Year’s resolution that will stick. Some people aren’t really ready to make a change, even though may know that they should. Change doesn’t happen overnight—and according to researchers, there are five distinct stages that we go through when making any behavior change.