Making New Year’s Resolutions is a tradition many people participate in, but only few people complete. What is the secret that allows for successful resolutions?
On Monday, we saw the hashtag #NewYearsResolutions trending on Twitter. With 2016 coming to a close, it’s that time again to start planning what our new resolutions will be. Scrolling through the feed, you could see thousands of people expressing their resolutions, many of them dealing with healthier lifestyles or making 2017 a better year, but how many people will go through with it? One study by the University of Scranton says that over 40% of Americans make resolutions, but only 8% follow through with them. Why is that? Is it the intangibility of the resolution, or just general laziness toward it?
Sofi Hopping states why she made her resolution, “[I made my resolution because it’s] New Year’s and everyone does, it’s a tradition!” This may be the reason most people make resolutions, a feeling of obligation to the opportunity, but that doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason to keep it.
43% of people that make resolutions say they don’t even keep them one month, according to The Guardian. This may be due to a phenomenon called “false hope syndrome,” which means people’s resolutions are often unrealistic or do not line up with their current lifestyle, making the resolution very difficult to follow through with. More specifically, the “unrealistic expectations of self-change.” When people create resolutions they are unable to complete, it’s not a good motivator to try again, making finishing it even harder.
The key to keeping resolutions might be making a simple one. Most people cannot adjust to drastic life changes suddenly, (false hope syndrome) thus making their resolution fail. Hopping proved this can work with her resolution. “The only resolution I completed was very soon in the year, which was getting an A on a French test,” she states, “It gave me a feeling of completion, [every other resolution] I forgot, and I think I lost interest in what I wanted to do in the New Year.” She proved that while her harder resolutions could not be completed, her smaller resolution was more realistic.
Cricket Kirkham also proved how resolutions are not always doable. Her resolution was to exercise more, but her schedule prevented her from keeping it. “I kept it for about four months, I lost it because I had a lot of other activities that occupied me.” she states. This may be an example of False Hope Syndrome, as she couldn’t keep her resolution because it was not able to fit in her schedule.
Many people agree that the best way to keep a resolution is to be realistic, and keep it simple. This guarantees the best results. An article by Psych Central states that “sometimes people find themselves aiming for an overhaul of their entire lifestyle, and this is simply a recipe for disappointment and guilt. It may be understandable at this time of year, when self-improvement is on your mind, but experience shows these things can’t all be achieved at once. The best approach is to focus clearly on one or two of your most important goals.” If everyone made very reasonable resolutions, a lot more people would be able to finish them. So, while making your resolutions this year, keep in mind your current lifestyle and schedule, and you just might be able to complete it.