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New Year's Resolutions — Should We Make Them? Can We Keep Them?

A new beginning; a chance at a fresh start. Each year we RESOLVE (with firm determination) to lose weight, stop smoking, spend more time with family or clean off the desk.

Seriously … think about some of the resolutions you’ve made over the years and how they might have affected your life today. I’d be a size 6 working uber-mom with the perfect bread pudding recipe, a clean desk and have an important wing of a major university hospital named after me.

Clearly, not everyone has been able to adhere to every resolution ever made. Experts say that’s due mostly to the fact that our resolutions are unrealistic.

According to Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute of Behavior Research and Technology, says “Goal setting is extremely important for performance and motivation, but New Year’s resolutions often over-reach, which sets us up for failure and disappointment.”

Based on that statement, should we even make resolutions? And how can we go about being successful with these kinds of goals?

According to Keri Gans at US News/Health, the problem may have “to do with deciding to make too many changes at the beginning of the year, or biting off more than you can chew, and getting frustrated when it's too much to keep up.” She suggests we decide why we need to make changes, create goals and multi-step plans to achieve them, and record our efforts so we can be accountable to ourselves.

USA.gov lists these as the 10 most common resolutions: 

  • Drink less alcohol
  • Eat healthy food
  • Get a better education
  • Get a better job
  • Get fit
  • Lose weight
  • Manage debt
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle
  • Save money
  • Take a trip
  • Volunteer to help others

Time.com lists the top 10 most broken resolutions:

  • Lose weight and get fit
  • Quit smoking
  • Learn something new
  • Eat healthier and diet
  • Get out of debt and save money
  • Spend more time with family
  • Travel to new places
  • Be less stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Drink less

Are you noticing any common themes? 

What are your new year's resolutions? Do you have any suggestions on how to maintain those goals?

Pam J January 06, 2013 at 02:45 AM
I finally made a resolution that I think I can keep. I am not buying into any superstitions. I don't care if I break a mirror, if a black cat walks in front of me, if I walk under a ladder, if I spill salt and I won't fret over Friday the 13ths. Also, I will not forward e-mails that state that I will have years of bad luck if I don't forward said e-mail to 15,000 of my closest friends. Although, since the last three years have been not so good, I must not have forwarded something three years ago that I should have. I may want to rethink that one.

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