Fall in love. Get a six-pack. Spend less. Volunteer more.
Around 40% of adults make one or more resolutions each year, according John Norcross of the University of Scranton. And, contrary to popular belief, a large number of them actually succeed, at least for a short period of time. Why aren’t they successful in the long-term?
Common Goal-Damaging Traps
The majority of resolution makers fall victim to the same goal-damaging traps by:
- Picking broad, unrealistic goals. Transforming your entire life, career, or look can be too much to take on. Realistic, simple, and measurable goals are best.
- Skipping the details. What, exactly, would you like to accomplish? Be specific. Jot down the steps you need to reach your resolution.
- Avoiding a schedule. Giving yourself a timeframe will help you see what needs to happen in the next few hours, days, and months.
- Letting the little things get in the way. Setbacks happen. No one is perfect! Accept the fact that you’re going to slip-up every now and then and you’ll avoid disappointment.
- Refusing to ask for help. Asking a friend, family member, or coworker to help you achieve your goal will keep you accountable along your journey. They’ll be there to encourage you and keep you on track when those minor slip-ups occur.
Above all, make resolutions you actually want to achieve, not resolutions others want you to achieve.
Norcross, J. C., Mrykalo, M. S. and Blagys, M. D. (2002), Auld lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers. J. Clin. Psychol., 58: 397–405. doi: 10.1002/jclp.1151
 Norcross, 404.