“New year, new me,” we exclaim at the beginning of each new year, swearing that we are going to stick to the resolutions we set for ourselves. New year’s resolutions are a way to start fresh. They give you something to work toward with a renewed sense of energy, and a boost of motivation. Many of us will set goals to eat healthier, get into better shape, spend more time with family, etc., while others will opt out of setting resolutions altogether. 

Odds are, many of those who set resolutions give in before January is over. The reason behind why many of us quit before we are able to fulfill our resolutions is because we want immediate gratification. We want what we want, and if we don’t see the results we want to see, we get discouraged. Only a select few stick to their resolutions long enough to see the change they want. 

Of those who make resolutions, 31 percent don’t stick to them, 38 percent stick to a few, leaving only 31 percent actually stick to the resolutions they set.  

The first week of a newly-made resolution is always the easiest. The sense of “I can do this” is still strong in our minds, and we want to make a change. As the days pass and turn into weeks, we begin to find excuses to not do whatever we’ve set our our minds on. 

Most Common New Year’s Resolutions

The most popular of the new year’s resolutions is of course to eat healthier and exercise more. 

With some overlap in resolutions, people’s top two goals by percentage were exercising more (fifty-nine percent) and eating healthier (fifty-four percent). The first couple of weeks in January are when gyms are at their highest capacity. Walking through the front door, you won’t find many treadmills or free weights available. 

Aside from eating healthier and exercising, other most common resolutions include saving money, learning a new skill or finding a new hobby, traveling more, and spending more time with family and friends. 

How to maintain and stick with your resolution 

When setting a resolution for yourself, remember that change takes time and effort. To make the slow process work for you, make smaller “stepping stone” goals along the way so that you are getting the gratification that helps propel you forward. Seeing improvement, even with smaller goals, gives you the extra drive that helps keep you motivated. If you’re working toward going to the gym, don’t start with a seven-day-a-week schedule. Instead, shoot for three or four days. Want to read more but you don’t have the attention span to do so? Read a few pages or even a chapter or two at a time. Soon enough, you’ll be able to push yourself to do more. 

Be realistic. Remember that the habits you are trying to change didn’t come to be overnight. Don’t expect the changes you want to see to happen overnight. Talk to someone. Discussing your goals with a friend, family member, or support group could be the push you need to maintain your commitment. 

Forgive yourself. Keep in mind that it’s okay if you drift away from your goals for a bit. The progress you’ve made is still progress. Don’t give up on your resolution. Jump back on that horse and keep working toward your goals. If you’re working on a resolution that you’ve set for yourself in the past and failed, that’s okay. Learn from your past mistakes and use those mistakes to push yourself into achieving your goals. 

Reward yourself. When hitting smaller goals, the satisfaction of inching closer to your resolution is enough to keep yourself going, but you don’t want to get burned out. 

Reward yourself with something that makes you happy. Did you go to the gym each day you said you were going to? Did you eat healthy for most every meal? Treat yourself to a new gym outfit or eat your favorite cookie. It’s the best way to train yourself to stick to your goals.