How to Get Back on the Health Track in 2016 part 2
Why People Fail at Following Through with Their Resolutions
About 40% of the adults in the United States make a New Year’s Resolution every year. Out of those, only about 25% will have broken one or more of them within two weeks. And by the end of January, the failure rate increases to 50%, according to John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing your Goals and Resolutions.
According to Norcross, the top five resolutions made each year are:
- Weight loss
- Improve finances
- Get a new job
- Healthier eating
Out of these five, weight loss, exercise and eating healthy are easiest.
What’s the average length of time someone stays with their resolution?
Resolution maintained through first week—–75% of people
Past two weeks —- 71% of people
Past one month —- 64% of people
Past six months —- 46% of people
These statistics show an alarming number of people failing to follow through with their resolutions.
In fact, it’s estimated that 75 percent of all New Year’s resolutions will end in failure.
So, if we’re so determined to change at the beginning of a new year, why do so many fail at following through?
Why We Fail
By the six month point after maker New Year resolutions, over half have already totally given up on at least one of them. Why?
Here are some ideas:
- Timing. January is a tough month to begin anything new. We’ve already packed on pounds starting during Halloween all the way through Super Bowl Sunday. Not to mention, it’s cold and dark out (at least in the U.S.) making us less active and even less motivated to change. Money is often tighter in January, after splurging during the holidays. Stress is higher, as well.
- High motivation with no real plan. Those New Year’s Resolutions don’t come with instructions. We can easily say, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year”, but that’s only the first step. To stay motivated, you need a detailed plan and often expert advice to be more likely to succeed.
- Setting unrealistic goals. Often we set unrealistic goals, such as going cold turkey from smoking or losing 50 pounds in 6 months. We sometimes set multiple resolutions that have nothing in common (like losing weight and getting out of debt) expecting to accomplish them all simultaneously. We set our expectations too high.
- Being too tough on ourselves. We have big expectations for ourselves, and then end up having an even bigger disappointment when our progress is slower than we expected or we have an occasional setback. This can cause you to give up.
- Lack of support or accountability. Trying to stay motivated on your own is tough. We’re social beings. We do better trying to reach a goal when we have support and are being held accountable for what we do. If no one knows you’re on a diet and fast food isn’t on your approved menu, the only thing keeping you away from the fast food lane is your own self-control.
Now you know what causes you to fail at your New Year’s resolutions. To make resolutions work, it involves changing your behavior, setting realistic goals, having a system for reaching the goal, and having others hold you accountable…