New Year’s Resolutions. They’re swathed by the same mysticism as spring cleaning. Everybody talks about how to start, when to start, and we all make public proclamations that are supposed to hold us accountable.
But do they actually work?
Doctor Mike Evans, a professor and YouTube Ted Talk-style craze, theorizes and backs up that, yes, resolutions made at New Years do indeed work.
Dr. Evans notes that 71% of people were able to stick with their resolutions for two weeks and a whopping 46% of New Year resolvers were able to stick with their lifestyle changes for 6 months.
But why? The question is two-fold.
New Year’s Space
New Year’s Eve provides everyone a space to reflect upon what actually matters. That space is given to us in off time from work and meetings of families and friends to sum up how their years have gone. The night itself gives us all a speaking platform to proclaim our resolutions out loud, which, on a level, holds us accountable.
The people who are successful in the long-run look at their success as a series of actions rather than as an effect of genetic characteristics. These aren’t motivated people. These are people who use high willpower moments to prepare for low willpower moments. These are people who facilitate their habit changes, not just people who are “determined” to make a change.
The Big 3
The top 3 resolutions each year are weight loss, exercise habits, and to quit smoking. Rather than just resolving to do so, here are our practical, active suggestions for starting the year off right.
Weight Loss – MEAL PREP
Use your motivated moments to facilitate positive change. When grocery shopping for the week, choose healthier foods and, as soon as possible, prepare for the week. This way, when willpower is low, you’ll have ready-prepped healthy meals at your disposal.
Exercise – Put Out Your Running Shoes
Or your tap shoes. Or your yoga mat. Having your gear waiting for you at the door will remind you to get your butt out there and meet your goals. If you have to dig through your closet in addition to finding the motivation to go to the gym, you’re more likely to skip a day. And then two. And then a week.
Smoking – Throw Out the Ciggies
Throw away the rest of the pack. They were expensive, but buying another two packs a week for the rest of your life is more expensive. Carry gum for those moments when you reach for your pack habitually and chew that instead.
Best of luck this year. You’re not alone in your resolve. YOU CAN DO IT!