Many people equate the ushering in of a new year with a “fresh start” or “clean slate.” This ideal presents a unique opportunity and date in time for individuals to make life changes and resolutions for the year to come.
Observation Baltimore surveyed 502 Baltimore Metropolitan Area (BMA) residents in order to gain insight into New Year’s resolution trends, motivators and success rates. A little less than half, (47%), of respondents reported typically making a New Year’s resolution. (80%) of those who make a resolution indentify bettering themselves and improving quality of life as their number one motivator for resolving to make a change in the new year. (16%) say they create a resolution simply because they enjoy the challenge of seeing it through.
Respondents were asked what ONE change in their life would most drastically improve their quality of living. The changes selected most often by respondents included; (43%) indicated less financial worry, (18%) improved physical health, (10%) less daily stress, and (10%) improved spiritual/mental health. It makes sense that the most impactful changes selected by respondents correlate with the type of resolution they chose to make. Health, money, career, and relationship related resolutions were most popular among survey respondents.
But for all the good intentions, only a small fraction of us keep our resolutions; University of Scranton research suggests that just (8%) of people achieve their New Year’s goals. Observation Baltimore found that (65%) of BMA residents indicate they keep their resolution for 6 months or less and only (25%) say they follow through until their goal is accomplished.
How to make successful resolutions
Respondents were asked to weigh in on what they think makes a good resolution and the best way to make it a success. Below is a list of tips compiled from participant responses.
- Keep it simple
- Pick ONE resolution. It is much easier to lose focus and abandon goals if you have a laundry list of resolutions. Conversely, if you are new to making resolutions consider choosing a few small, attainable goals throughout the year rather than one overwhelming goal.
- Make success measurable
- The method in which you measure success should be tangible. Instead of making your goal to lose some weight you should make a goal of getting to the gym three days a week for spinning classes or cutting soda out of your diet. According to John Norcross of the University of Scranton, “If you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution because vague goals beget vague resolutions.”
- Share your resolution with others
- Shout your goal from the roof tops! Tell your friends and family what your resolution is. This gives most people a greater sense of accountability, not only to themselves but to others. You might even want to choose an “accountability buddy”; an accountability buddy is someone (or more than one person) that supports you in making sure you meet your commitments. In psychology, it’s known as an external motivator. Someone, outside of you, that helps you stay motivated.
- Don’t get discouraged
- “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” While it is important to take your resolution seriously and stay focused, being too hard on yourself can lead to feelings of discouragement. This is when people begin abandoning their resolutions as they hit bumps in the road that throw them off their stride. So keep believing in yourself and take it one day at a time.