It is tradition to make a New Year’s resolution along with ringing in the New Year. Will you be making a new year’s resolution this year? A resolution is a promise you make to yourself to start doing something good the first day of year. According to Wikipedia, the origins of New Year’s Resolutions span across a variety of cultures. Babylonians made promises to their gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay off debts. In the medieval era, knights reaffirmed their commitment to chivalry. In Mexico, rice pudding is served with a hidden almond inside. It is said that whoever finds the hidden almond will receive twelve months of good luck. In addition to present day New Year’s resolutions, the most well-known American tradition is to watch the ball drop in New York’s Times Square at midnight. The iconic ball drop has happened almost every year since 1907.
Although there are no restrictions regarding New Year’s Resolutions, many people end up having resolutions covering similar topics. Here are the top ten resolutions people had in 2013 according to Katherine Costello from Policymic:
- Eat healthy and exercise regularly
- Drink less
- Learn something new
- Quit smoking
- Better work/life balance
- Save money
- Get organized
- Read more
- Finish those around the house to-do lists
Do any of these resolutions sound familiar to you? About 45% of Americans make resolutions. However only 8% are successful at keeping them throughout the year with only 25% of Americans making it past the first week! Those statistics are not very high. Many of us overestimate our ability to change a behavior and maintain it under all circumstances. Many people forget to factor in stress and emotions when making a resolution, which often take over and lead us to revert back to an unwanted behavior.
In order to successfully keep a New Year’s Resolution, break down the overall goal and focus on a small aspect of it. No one said you have to keep the same resolution throughout the whole year. Look at the overall goal and figure out how you will get there using small steps throughout the year. For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to get organized, it is not reasonable to think as soon as the ball drops you will maintain organized habits. Start by making a rule that when you come home you will put anything away that takes less than a minute such as hanging up your coat, putting your shoes away and filing important papers accumulated throughout the day. This will keep you from making your commonly used items even less organized and put you in the habit of keeping your things organized daily. Next, set a goal each month to organize a part of your stuff such as your office supplies or shoe area of your closet. Start small and once each section is organized use your first resolution to keep it organized. Hopefully by the end of the year you have not only kept your resolution but also successfully completed it!
If you plan on making a resolution this year and want to be successful, set a goal and break it down into small reasonable steps. You can achieve your resolution! Good luck and have a safe New Year’s!