Insights: How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Count

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Most of us like to make New Year’s resolutions, but do you know the odds of being successful with these resolutions?

A study was done in 2014 at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. It is not difficult to guess what the top 10 resolutions were, but let me give them to you anyway.

No surprise, number one is to lose weight. The other top resolutions: Get organized, spend less, save more, enjoy life to the fullest, stay fit and healthy, learn something exciting, quite smoking, help others in their dreams, fall in love, spend more time with family.

The Scranton study showed that 45 percent of people set New Year’s resolutions, yet only eight percent of people are successful in achieving these resolutions. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. This makes it clear that it is worth putting some resolutions out there.

Taking this a step further, 75 percent of people who set resolutions are still maintaining them after week one, but by six months it goes down to 46 percent.

So how do we hold our resolutions past week one?

It’s simple: write them down. Yes, it is that simple. Then have a plan—in other words, break it down and write out what the steps are to accomplish your resolution. Keep yourself accountable, which may mean joining a group or have a friend or family member support you.

Most of all you have to feel passionate about your resolution, so when life gets in the way you do not get side tracked.

You may say your really want to start exercising, but if you do not feel excited about it and do not have a plan, then as Steven Covey would say, the things that are important and urgent will get in the way. These are the daily things we have to do to keep our lives going. We have to make a conscious effort on a daily basis to do what is important to us but not urgent. These are the things that really do matter to us but we often dismiss because we are so busy doing the urgent things like cooking dinner, or paying our bills.

I commit to myself that I will spend 10 percent of my day on this important but not urgent list. This is how I move my life forward. This is really taking time for my goals, therefore helping me to be a better version of myself and contribute more to the world. Otherwise I find myself existing in the ‘doing’ mode and another year goes by with little movement except getting by.

There are two major resolutions I would like all of us to have, beyond losing 10 pounds or running a marathon.

From Cyril Cusack: “If you asked me for my New Year’s resolution, it would be to find out who I am.”

While having this resolution, it then allows us to have the following resolution from Goran Perrson: “Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.”

I believe when we live out these two resolutions, it encompasses all of the top 10 resolutions, and we and the world become a better place.

I wish you a prosperous, healthy, and loving New Year.

Contact Dr. Zavala at [email protected] or DrZavala.com.

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