NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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A New Year's Resolution Worth Keeping

New Year's Resolution

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Sciences

Holiday activities are over and the last present has been unwrapped and our attention is now turned to New Year’s resolutions. Millions of Americans make resolutions each year. The most popular resolutions include starting an exercise program, eating better, and reducing the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or other drugs. According to research conducted by Psychology Central, 75% of people who make resolutions fail in their first attempts, and most of these people, 67%, make more than one resolution.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, people who made New Year's resolutions had higher rates of success at making the desired behavior change than people who did not make resolutions. After six months, 46 percent of the resolution makers were successful compared to just 4 percent of the people who did not make resolutions.

Here are some useful tips to help you succeed at reaching your goals:

  1. Have a strong initial commitment to make a change (self-efficacy).
  2. Find a buddy to join you in your efforts or to at least be available to offer you ongoing support.
  3. Have a plan of coping strategies in place so you are ready when you reach a road block.
  4. Keep track of your progress. The more you monitor your behavior and receive feedback from your support system, the greater your success.

Here are a few ingredients that will lead to resolution failure:

  1. Not thinking about making a resolution until 11:58 p.m. December 31. Lack of planning will lead to failure.
  2. Reacting to a current situation that is bothering you or something that has been on your mind for a while.
  3. Framing your resolutions as absolutes, such as “I will never eat candy again.”
    This year why not try taking on a new habit instead of trying to get rid of an old bad one.

Why not give the following a try:

  1. Try a new food that you have never eaten before. How about black rice which is rich in antioxidants and delicious. Or a fruit or vegetable that you have been wondering about. Pomegranates or parsnips roasted in the oven are worthy options.
  2. Want to make the gym a part of your new routine? Find a friend to join you.  You will have much more success if you have an accountability partner and it’s a lot more fun when done with a friend.
  3. Learn something new this year. You have 365 days to conquer a new skill, read that book you’ve got sitting on your book shelf, cross something off your bucket list, or take that class you have wanted to take for years. One is never too old to learn something new or take on a new adventure. 

Finally, expect setbacks. Progress is never steady, even when you’ve done it right by making commitments and setting reasonable goals. So what if you have a week without weight loss, or can’t save anything when the budget gets tight? You may have detoured from your destination, but it’s not the end of the road, so don’t give up on yourself. Keep believing in yourself and don’t stop trying.

Source: eXtension.com

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