Updated: Mar 31
Cheryl Brooks RN, OCN, HNB-BC Holistic Health and Wellness Nurse Coach
The practice of making New Year’s resolutions dates back to the Babylonian’s who reportedly made promises to their gods in the hope of receiving good fortune in the year ahead. In modern times, a New Year’s resolution is a promise or a goal that one sets for in the new year with the intention of improving their life in some way. Have you set a resolution for yourself this new year?
According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New year's resolutions is said to be about 80 percent, and most lose their resolve by mid-February. Approximately 9 percent of people consider themselves successful. There are many factors that can influence the likelihood of achieving a resolution. Some common reasons include:
1. Lack of commitment
2. Not having a specific goal
3. Setting goals that are too ambitious
4. Lack of a plan
5. Failure to track progress
6. Trying to change too much at once
7. Lack of support
Resolutions are often made impulsively and without a clear plan for how to achieve them. However, the intent to make a change to improve one's life is too good to give up on. Especially when the most common New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on self-improvement and well-being such as eating healthier, exercising more, losing weight, and reducing stress. So how can you succeed with your New Year’s goals?
A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 2010, found that those who made specific and challenging resolutions were more likely to be successful than those who made more general or easy resolutions. The study also found that those who used strategies such as enlisting the support of friends and family, setting specific goals, and tracking progress were more likely to achieve their resolutions.
Let’s review what you can do to create a successful New Year’s resolution that you can stick with!
1. Find support - having the support of friends, family, or a coach can be a key factor in achieving a resolution. Your support person can help you by providing encouragement, help you overcome challenges and provide accountability which will help you stay on track.
2. Get committed - achieving a resolution requires a strong commitment to change. To help you stay committed, it is important to know your “why”. Start by asking yourself why you want to accomplish the goal that you are setting? For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, maybe it is because you want to feel better. Then ask yourself why is it that you want to feel better? Maybe it is because you want to have more energy. Why? What benefits will that bring to your life? Maybe more energy would allow you to spend more quality time with your children. Whatever your goal may be, continue to ask yourself why it is important until you have a deep understanding of what this goal really means to you.
3. Create a SMART goal - a smart goal is a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goal which will be easy to quantify and track which increases your chance of success. Vague resolutions such as “be healthier” or “get in shape” make it harder to stay motivated and on track.
4. Make sure your goal is reasonable - you want a goal that is challenging but realistic. A realistic goal can help you get to your objective faster by building confidence and self-esteem as you begin to tackle the steps you created.
5. Have a plan - with a plan it is much easier to stay on track and make progress. You want to break your goal down into small actionable steps. If you are having difficulty creating a plan it could be helpful to work with a coach. A coach can offer guidance and strategies on creating a plan and for overcoming setbacks.
6. Track your progress - regularly reviewing your progress is necessary to assess whether your resolution is still realistic and achievable and to see if it is necessary to adjust your plan at all.
7. Choose one change at a time - to be realistic and make sustainable progress it is easiest to focus on one goal at a time rather than to try and make multiple changes all at once.
Lastly, a friendly reminder to give yourself grace and compassion during this process. Every journey comes with ups and downs. Just remember to go back to your “why” for motivation and focus. Happy New Year! Be well.
Cheryl Brooks RN, OCN, HNB-BC, NBC-HWC
Holistic Health and Wellness Nurse Coach