Is Your New Year's Resolution Just An Empty Promise?

   By drodriguez  Dec 28, 2009

We make them every year and according to a new study we break them  every year as well.  We are of course talking about the New Year’s resolution.  Whether it be to start the new year afresh with a clean slate or just a slight tweak to your lifestyle, psychologists say we rarely keep our resolutions and when we break them we become more depressed in the process.  So should we even try?

There may be a way to make them stick if we understand why people have failed at keeping them.  An article from the Guardian talks about a study from the University of Hertfordshire that surveyed 700 people about their strategies of trying to keep their New Year’s resolutions.  From losing weight to giving up bad relationships less than a quarter of the respondents were able to stick to their resolutions.

Of the 78 percent who failed, most of them had focused by fantasizing about success and relying on willpower alone.  Psychologist Richard Wiseman , who led the study, told the Guardian, "If you are trying to lose weight, it’s not enough to stick a picture of a model on your fridge or fantasize about being slimmer." 

So what is the secret to successfully keeping your New Year’s resolutions?  The study reveals that people who kept their goals broke them into smaller steps and gave themselves rewards as they achieved each step.  They also let their friends in on their resolutions and kept a diary documenting their progress.  Making one resolution at a time led to the best results as well as regarding the occasional lapses as just temporary setbacks that you can work through. Wiseman says, "Many of the most successful techniques involve making a plan and helping yourself stick to it."

What do you think of the study revealing most people fail at keeping their resolutions?

Have you had success with sticking to your New Year’s goals in the past?

Make a Comment

hollyann1010 by hollyann1010 | Watkinsville, GA
Feb 13, 2010

An easy way to keep your New Years resolution is to set short term goals. Then once you have accomplished that goal you feel like you can really accomplish a bigger goal and you just build yourself up until you reach that long term goal.

corinetin by corinetin | Canton, OH
Jan 29, 2010

This is my first resolution...I KNOW I will achieve my goal because I don't have the quitter attitude. Most people fail at their resolution because of lack of motivation! So far I doing AWESOME with keeping mt resolution! Good Luck to all!!!!

laughoutlouder by laughoutlouder | Garrett, IN
Jan 28, 2010

the secret to keeping your resolution, for me is to put little reminders in places around ur house where u can see them all the time, put a note on ur cabnet so everytime u open it u will be reminded. it works for me.

msgimme by msgimme | Louisville, KY
Jan 28, 2010

So far I've kept my New Years resolution , I decided to quit smoking (after 38 yrs.). I had a little help form my Dr. , he wrote me a prescription for Chantix ! It made it easier to quitting . If you smoke , try Chantix as an aid to quit . You may be glad you did.

KarmiRose by KarmiRose | WDM, IA
Jan 27, 2010

I've never made a New Years resolution, but this year I really hope to lose all the baby weight I have! But I can't start my new years resolution until I save up some money to get myself a gym membership! I have been eatting healthier though, so I would like to stay I'm sort of sticking to my resolution!

LokiBunnie by LokiBunnie | Huntingdon Valley, PA
Jan 27, 2010

I had a revelation this year. Why not celebrate what you did well in the prior year, and resolve to continue it? For me, New Year resolutions are about negatives, not positives. When I feel positive about myself, I do better in the future.

mgrace2you by mgrace2you | Addison, TX
Jan 12, 2010

I agree completely with angelasp71! I am determined to do all these things!!!! I think reading inspiring stories every now and then will help keep me motivated.

angelasp71 by angelasp71 | Gainesville, GA
Jan 04, 2010

I am determined this year to eat healthier,lose weight and exercise more!!

brians_girl by brians_girl | Cookeville, TN
Jan 04, 2010

I have many aspirations...and no time! I am a full-time college student and a housewife. I gained 25 pounds in six months, and I'm really looking forward to ridding myself of it. But I eat on the go and don't have time to exercise as much as I'd like. What I really need is a good kick in the the right direction.

SiLvEr-StArS by SiLvEr-StArS | REVERE, MA
Jan 02, 2010

Well I hope I truly need to keep this year's Promise. Every Year I do good a few monthes then , Boom something happens Etc. Good Luck All..........................

rulistenin by rulistenin | Jackson, WY
Dec 31, 2009

It's like Groundhog Day, or maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. I'm usually good for about 3 months, then 'things happen' to get in the way of completing the resolution. Then, of course, I beat myself up for not following through. Then, it all starts over again the next New Year.

MarineCorpsNomads by MarineCorpsNomads | Joshua Tree, CA
Dec 30, 2009

I make changes as needed throughout the year. Most people I know set themselves up for failure when they make lofty New Year's resolutions. In my opinion, if you make changes throughout the year as necessary, you are more likely to succeed.

DianeGrace by DianeGrace | MIDLAND, MI
Dec 30, 2009

I really don't know many that keep a New Year's resolution. They might have good intentions but just don't follow through with them. I know I won't make one because I won't make it. Good Luck to all who do Happy New Year Everyone

joy9281 by joy9281 | TOLEDO, OH
Dec 30, 2009


Trinket by Trinket | PRYOR, OK
Dec 30, 2009

I thought this post was encouraging. Whether or not you make New Year's resolutions, breaking your goals into smaller more reachable goals, talking about them to your friends (which makes you a little more accountable), rewarding yourself, and the other things mentioned here can be helpful to many people in achieving them. It may not work for everyone, but for some of us, this could be a life-changer.