Archive for the ‘New Year's Resolutions’ Category

Make 2014 the best year of your life

December 30, 2013

2014-Wallpaper-HD-New-YearYou hear a lot of bad press about new year’s resolutions this time of year. That people never keep them. That people shouldn’t make them. That they can even CAUSE you to fail.

Well, don’t listen to any of that.

Marriages end, and the statistics about divorce aren’t pretty, but people still get married, don’t they? Cars need to get repaired sometimes, and we still buy and drive them. Life isn’t perfect and resolutions aren’t either.

But resolutions are still good. Examining your life and deciding what’s missing or how it can be better, or how you could be healthier or happier, or make other people happier — that’s a good thing.

Who was it who said “The unexamined life is not worth living?” Socrates? I’d say that was a bit harsh 🙂 but yeah, point taken. It’s good to take stock.  It’s good to set personal goals. If you don’t achieve them, you may have made progress toward them. You can’t go somewhere unless you have a plan.

What works for me: setting pleasurable goals, as well self-improvement goals, like travel plans for the year (Virginia State Parks, here I come!), and producing a portable version of my resolutions I can carry around in my purse and refer to often.

There are some great articles about making resolutions and setting personal goals online — check out Forbes and MindTools.  Here are some of my previous posts about making and keeping New Year’s resolutions.

There’s no one “right” way to do this.  Tackle it the way that works for you!

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2010

Here’s to a wonderful 2010!  Best wishes to all of you for a Happy New Year.

Today, I will celebrate the new year with a couple of traditions.  As I was raised in the South, I eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day.  This custom is supposed to be good luck, and specifically, it’s supposed to bring you money in the new year.  I will also take time to thoughtfully review my resolutions for the new year.

The museums in Washington, DC are open on New Year’s Day, so I anticipate spending the day soaking up some culture.  Learning something new and surrounding myself with beauty — what a great way to start the new year!

So, do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?

Create A New Year’s Resolutions Retreat

December 31, 2009

This week, we have talked a lot about New Year’s resolutions, goal-setting, tools, and strategies.

As we move into the promise of a new year, I hope you will embrace all the wonderful possibilities that goal-setting presents to you, whether you choose to make an exhaustive inventory of your most heart-felt desires, or whether you choose to focus on one single goal for self-improvement for the new year.

I really feel setting aside this short amount of time for yourself, while it may feel slightly self-indulgent at first, will allow you to be even more generous and giving of yourself and your talents in 2010.

Space to Think, Space to Dream

As you assemble your thoughts and tools, the one thing you need, in addition to time, is space.  Space, in two senses.  You need space in your mind — uninterrupted, uncluttered time to focus on a plan for a new year.  Time away from your children and your commitments, even if only for an hour or two.  You need a mini-retreat, or maybe several, if you tackle this in stages.

Then, you also need a space to work on your resolutions, or at least the beginning stages of them.  I find it helpful to work on a computer most days.  But for goal-setting, working on a computer can be distracting (there is always Facebook to check, etc.)

When you really need to focus, it may help you be in a quiet, spacious, and clutter-free environment.  Have you ever noticed how a change of environment can sometimes help you think of new solutions?  For example, have you ever gone on vacation and stayed in a hotel room?  And did the clutter-free hotel room help you think of new things you wanted to do with your life?  That commonly happens to me.  Some of my best ideas have come to me in hotel rooms.  An empty room away from home — and away from dishes and laundry calling to be done! — can be like a blank canvas for  your thoughts.

Finding Your Space

Can you think of a big, quiet space where you can work for an hour — or a few hours — with some table or desk space, a chair, plenty of wall space to tack your notes up, and room to walk around?   If you can’t get this time and space at home, then consider these ideas for empty space to work in as you noodle out your goals…

  • A borrowed conference room at work
  • A community center room
  • A study room at the library
  • Even a hotel room!

If you can’t work in a quiet environment, and need a little hub-bub to work your best, why not take a brand new notebook to Starbuck’s or another coffee place?  The notebook can be your canvas.  You can dedicate a page to each part of your life you want to address (finances, health, fitness, personal development, career, family time, home improvement, etc.)

Bringing Your Tools to Your Thinking Space

Once you have located your space where you can be exclusively “you” for a little while, whether it’s inside or outside your home, bring with you to your “retreat”

  • a 2010 calendar to plan and write in dates
  • Some water; a snack or lunch for breaks
  • An iPod and earbuds, if music helps you concentrate
  • Gum or mints, or hand-fidgets, if they help you concentrate
  • Big paper (see the big easel paper at Staples, especially the Post-It versions)
  • Tape and scissors (you might cut up your goals and move them around)
  • Highlighters and markers
  • Pens and notebooks, a laptop
  • Post-it notes in various colors
  • A favorite magazine
  • If  you like, photos you have brought with you for inspiration
  • Maybe a camera, if you want to document your efforts
  • These notes (and previous blog posts this week)
  • Copies of the action-plan1 and action-plan-example
  • Something to carry it all in, like a big tote bag

Should you work alone, with a relative, or with a friend?

That really depends on you.  Creating resolutions is an intensely personal exercise, at least in the beginning.  I do recommend sharing your thoughts and work with a friend or relative you trust at a stage where you feel you have organized your thoughts and prioritized your goals . Let them help you refine and shape your plan, and make suggestions.  And let them support and advise you through the year.  But perhaps in the beginning, while you are in the dream stage, you might want to work alone, with calls or visits with friends to touch base and to get support.  It’s up to you.  Work how you work best!

Finishing the Plan

When you have finished your retreat, I do recommend writing or typing it (typing it is good, because you will probably revise it through the year, somewhat) on 5 x 7 sheets of paper and putting your plan in small 5 X7 pocket photo album.  They cost about $2-$3, are lightweight, and are easy to carry with you.  As you go through your objectives, you can make notes, or check-marks.

Good luck with your resolutions!  Happy New Year, everybody!

Personal Goal-Setting for the New Year: One Goal Approach

December 30, 2009

I have talked a lot about goals this week.  The process of self-examination and personal goal-setting is a complicated and time-consuming process, albeit a worthwhile one.  There is, however, an alternative to writing resolutions and setting personal goals that is much simpler.  I call it the One Goal Approach.  And this is a good approach if you just do not want to think about or write down your New Year’s resolutions, but you do want to improve yourself, in a conscious way.

All you have to do is pick one, easy-to-do, simple-to-remember goal that if you really worked on throughout the year, other parts of your life would reap the benefit. This can be very easy and effective. I’ve had good results the couple of years I have tried it.  Those years were not as focused or as driven as the years I set more resolutions, perhaps, but they were still motivated and full of positive developments.  I highly recommend it as an approach.

For example, one year, I decided that I would make an effort to look my best every day. That was my only real resolution for the year.  This may seem like a superficial goal, and in many ways, it was.  However, I made this goal at a time when I had really been putting my own needs last, and I was discouraged and run-down.  I had noticed, however, that when I looked a little nicer, people treated me better.  And then my spirits lifted, and I got more done.  Now, generally, I’m not one to wear a lot of makeup or fuss with my hair that much.  But that year, I made an effort.  Every day, before I left the house, I checked the mirror and thought, is this the best you can look?  Not the best a model can look, but the best Mary Fletcher Jones can look?

I will say that the goal was simple, but it did take effort and resources, of course.  I read about fashion trends.  I took time to shop, and I had to spend money on clothes, shoes, makeup and haircuts.  I bought gym memberships and dance classes to keep in shape.  Spending time on my appearance took time away from other things I liked to do.  At times, I felt selfish, and a little silly and vain.  I wondered if it was really a good goal, after all.  But then, I started seeing results…

EVERYONE I knew noticed the difference in me that year.  People I had not seen in years, strangers, my child’s teachers, friends, relatives.  Everyone said I looked and acted differently (in a good way).  It was a life-changing year, because as I took more care with my appearance,  and I took more time to exercise, my self-esteem and confidence increased, which consequently made it easier for me to network for business and make new friends, and be more outgoing in general, which had all kinds of career and social benefits for me.

Since I was taking the time to dress better and look more polished, I found that I also took the time to make connections with people more, and as I did, I generally became a more thoughtful person than I had been, because I just naturally gave more thought and time to things I did and said, when I was around people.  I became a better listener.

I was healthier, and I had more energy, because I was working out.  I lost about twenty pounds.

I felt more relaxed and happy, as a result of my improved social life, confidence, and physical fitness, which made me a better and more cheerful mother to my little boy, so his life was improved by my resolution, as well.

Eventually, I snagged a boyfriend, too, and I hadn’t had a romantic relationship like that in years.  And all because I had focused on one thing I could really change about myself!  So, it really wasn’t that superficial a goal, after all.

Your one goal could be just as simple, or even more easy. Think how your life would change if you

  • Drank a couple of glasses of water each day (no bottled water! just tap water)
  • Walked outside for a half hour each day (without a cell phone).
  • Went to a different museum in DC once a month all year.
  • Sat down with your family to a home-cooked meal each week for dinner.

What are some “one-goals” that would make your life better?

How to Set Personal Goals and New Year’s Resolutions

December 29, 2009

Personal goal-setting can change your life!  If you think of personal goal-setting as a fun and creative process, it can take some of the anxiety out of it.  Here are some tips that have worked for me.

1. Begin by telling yourself that the new year will be the best year of your life. Going into the process with this positive attitude may help motivate you through the tougher parts.  That can be the first thing you write down, if you wish.  For example, at the top of my paper, I might write: “2010 Will Be The Best Year of My Life!”

2. Think of — and write down — the good things you want for yourself and those you love. Try not to let anything get in the way of writing these down.  For example, don’t think…yes, but if only I could afford it!  Just write it down.

If you find yourself with a mental block, you can try a number of creative ways to get in touch with your dreams…

  • Take a walk outside and talk it over it with a trusted friend.
  • Look through your favorite magazines.  What articles and photos do you respond to?
  • Get big sheets of paper and markers and make BIG lists.  That’s how I do it!  Post-It makes a great easel sized paper with sticky surfaces to stick on the wall.
  • Get lots of different colors of post it notes, with wishes and goals on each one.
  • Draw pictures of yourself succeeding in your goal(s)
  • If you find you are really stuck, try this imagination-liberating exercise: imagine how you would live your life if you won the lottery.  What would you do?  Write it down.

3. Categorize your goals. This will help you organize your thoughts.  You can dedicate a sheet of paper (or several) to each!  Or use different post-it note colors for different areas of your life.  Or open a notebook (in Mac Microsoft Word) and dedicate a tab to each section.  Whatever method helps you organize your thoughts in a fun and effective way, go for it.

Types of Personal Goals

  • Recreation/fun (e.g., concerts, museums, sports)
  • Artistic/Creative/Writing/Self-Expression
  • Vacation/Trips
  • Education/School/Classes/Self-Improvement/New Skills
  • Physical Fitness/exercise
  • Healthy Diet/food-related
  • Healthy Behaviors/Mindset (e.g. smoking, stress, positive outlook)
  • Personal appearance/grooming
  • Medical/Exams
  • Love relationships/marriage/dating
  • Friendships/socializing
  • Financial/Budget
  • Career/Business/Networking/Professional Associations
  • Home Purchase/Home Improvement/Home organization
  • Auto/Maintenance
  • Environmental/green/recycling
  • Related to Parenting/children/pets/family
  • Spiritual/religious/life purpose
  • Community/neighborhood/causes/volunteerism
  • Etc.

If you get to this point, you will have a whole lot of goals.  You may see a pattern, or one or two goals may leap out at you as the most important.  This will help as you start to write the objectives that help you reach your goals. The objectives are the steps along the way that will help you reach your larger goal, or resolution, for the year.

4. Refine and Elaborate Your Personal Goals. So at this point, you have to do a reality check, and start prioritizing the goals you have identified.  Which are the most important to you?  Which are the most easy to achieve?  There is an acronym that many personal coaches recommend, called SMART

  • Specific. Make the goal specific.  Write it in as positive a tone as you can.
  • Measurable. What would define success for you?  Losing weight?  Or losing fifteen pounds?
  • Attainable. Perhaps you might not be able to buy a new car this year.  But could you save $25 a week?
  • Realistic. Some of your dreams may not be realistic at this point.  That’s okay.  It’s still good to be aware of them.  But stretch your perception of what may be attainable.  You may be able to achieve those dreams, or some version of them.  You may surprise yourself.
  • Time-based. Set a time-limit for your goals, with specific dates.  Be sure to include a few modest goals that can be achieved in a relatively short time-frame. That will build your confidence, as you achieve them.

I like to create big goals for the areas of my life, divided into smaller objectives and steps, which are more like projects that help me meet the bigger goal.  For example, here’s one I did for my “Health” category a couple of years ago.

Health Goal: I will be physically and emotionally healthy this year.

Objective 1: I will get routine medical care.

Step 1:  I will make an appointment to get a check-up in March (I met this goal.  It was easy to remember, because my birthday is in March).

Step 2: I will get a mammogram (I didn’t specify when, so I didn’t actually meet this goal. Setting a date is important!)

There were lots of other steps, such as “I will take vitamins and/or a calcium supplement daily,” but you get the idea.  The goal is the big picture.  Here are some other examples of big goals (that had lots of objectives and steps for each) that I have used in the past.

  • Home Goal: I will maintain a clean, inviting, beautiful, and well-organized home.  There are several steps that go along with that, including organization projects.
  • Car Goal: I will maintain my car and its related expenses.  The habits I built that year have now become second nature.
  • Finances Goal: I will take steps to build my personal financial security.
  • Friendship Goal: I will make friends with fun, intelligent, interesting, and positive people and maintain my current good friendships.  My goal helped me be more outgoing.  As I planned in my specific and dated objectives, I had a Mardi Gras party, and connected with some people I had been meaning to touch base with for a while.
  • Family Goal: I will spend quality time with my son.  This goal involved all kinds of good parenting objectives, like being more structured about meal times and bed times, and planning fun things to do together.
  • Personal Development Goal: I will have fun, learn new things, and take some interesting classes.  This was a fun goal to write that involved all kinds of plans for taking belly dancing, ballroom dancing, going to certain museum exhibits, and travel.  It was an ambitious list and I accomplished most of it.  It gave me a structure for my year.
  • Job Goal: I will work at an enjoyable and satisfying job.  The steps I wrote were very specific, including taking classes to learn specific new skills, attending networking events, and completing certain projects.  The steps helped me go way beyond my expectations for the year.

5. Plan How You Will Deal with Obstacles in Personal Goal-Setting. At some point in the goal writing process (it can be towards the end, or in the middle, but it shouldn’t be in the beginning),  you can also write down the obstacles that may get in the way of achieving the goals, and decide how you are going to deal with them.   This will be an ongoing process throughout the year, by the way, and you may have to adjust, revise, or even abandon goals as these obstacles come up.  And that’s okay!  Sometimes, a goal has to be postponed. I never have anticipated that I will achieve each and every one of my goals, and I never have, but I try to achieve the most important ones, and the most fun ones.  If I don’t meet one goal, there are always others to work on.

The most common obstacles people cite are lack of money, time, and motivation. For lack of money and time, I think it is useful, especially if you are new to personal goal-setting, to set modest goals that don’t cost a lot of money but that will have a big pay-off.  For example, it does not generally cost anything to drink more water, or take a half-hour walk each day, but both of these life-changes can have tremendously positive results for your health.

For lack of motivation, the best thing to do is, again, to set small goals, and remind yourself along the way of your success.  Keep your list with you and read it whenever you can.  I keep a copy in a pocket photo album (they cost about $2 or $3 for this purpose).  Check-mark or highlight the goals and objectives on the list as you meet them.  Proudly review (and share!) what you have accomplished.   It is also helpful to share your goals with a positive and supportive person who can help keep you motivated.

Still, as you go through the year, you will encounter people, situations, and problems that may get in your way.  There will be people, perhaps even some of your friends, or your boss, children, parents, or spouse, who will be less than supportive or neutral about your progress or achievement.  It can be easy to get pigeon-holed into a role, and when you try to break free of that perception people have of you, they may resist it.  (Some people, of course, will be wildly supportive!)  Or perhaps you are in a job that is not helping you move forward in your career.  It could be anything.  At that time, ask yourself: is this person/thing/situation taking me farther from or closer to my goals? You cannot afford to let “vampires” drain away your positive energy or enthusiasm, so find away to overcome these obstacles as you work toward your goals.

You will also have sacrifices to make as you reach your goals.  They may be small or great.  At the very least, you will have to expend effort.  For example, if you want to learn new skills that will help you on the job, you will have to pay for classes, which means that you may have to adjust your vacation plans for the year, or buy fewer new clothes.  Or if your goal is to improve your personal appearance, maybe you’ll spend more money on clothes!  🙂  Just give some thought to what you are willing to give up in order to achieve your goals.

6. Develop a system that works for you. My system, as I mentioned, involves creating goals, objectives, and small steps (dated and specific) in a Microsoft Word document.  I then  format the document with 2″ to 2.3″ inch margins all around.  I cut this and insert it into a 5 X 7 pocket photo album that fits into my purse.  (There are also other helpful lists and photos in this book!)  Now, when I am on the Metro, or waiting in line, I can take out my book and review my goals.

You can keep your resolutions online, or on an index card (if you only have a few).  Whatever you do, write them down!

Ready-Made Resolutions for the New Year

December 28, 2009

Need some help with writing resolutions? It’s often easier to start with a list you can edit, rather than creating your own resolutions from scratch.  Here are some examples of  New Year’s resolutions and supporting activities.  Consider adapting, adding to, and revising these goals as you craft your own resolutions.

Personal Development and Recreation Resolutions

Goal: I will have fun, learn new things, and take some interesting classes in 2010.

  • I will learn how to (play tennis, etc.).  I will take a basic tennis class.  I will play tennis with (name of friend).
  • I will go to the local museums and sights. I will go see (specific exhibit) in January. I will visit an art gallery on an opening night. I will go to (insert museum you have not seen before).
  • I will see one local music concert or dance event a month.
  • I will go to the library once a month and pick an interesting book.
  • I will go to the movies once a month.
  • I will travel to new places. List two places you would like to go.
  • I will nurture my creativity and power of self-expression.  I will keep a journal or blog. I will make something w/art materials. I will take photographs or video. etc.
  • I will do things just for fun. I will look through a telescope at the stars. Play pool, bowl, mini-golf. Ice-skating, skiiing or snow tubing.  Horseback riding.
  • I will volunteer (specify how, what, when).

Health Resolutions

Goal: I will be physically and emotionally healthy in 2010.

  • I will get routine medical care.
    • I will get a check-up (date).
    • I will see a dentist (date).
    • I will see an eye doctor (date).
  • I will take vitamins daily and medications as prescribed.
  • I will strive for balance in my life.
    • I will maintain a positive outlook (define how).
    • I will balance work and recreation (define how).
    • I will join a community of faith/supportive social group/volunteer project (specify which and on what date).
  • I will stay physically fit
    • I will join a gym and make an appointment with a personal trainer in January.
    • I will exercise, using my program (e.g., MWF)
    • I will walk outdoors (at least) 2 times a week. (e.g., Tu/TH)
  • I will achieve/maintain a healthy weight (calculate and insert your BMI here.  If you are more than 25 lb. over your BMI, then your goal this year is to lose 25 lb.)
  • I will eat a healthy diet.
    • I will eat leafy green vegetables (how many times a week)
    • I will drink water each day.
    • I will eat half the portions served me in a restaurant with table service.
    • I will not snack after 8 p.m.
    • I will abstain/drink alcohol moderately (e.g., 1 glass per day)
  • I will get plenty of rest.
    • I will sleep for 8-9 hours each night.
    • I will go to bed and wake up at the same time, when possible.

Family Resolutions

Goal: I will spend quality time with my family in 2010.

  • I will create a structured and consistent home environment. Consistent home work routine (specify). Consistent bedtime and routine (specify). Consistent mealtimes and routine (specify). We will eat dinner together as a family (most nights/or specify which nights).
  • We will watch TV, watch movies, or play on the computer no more than 2 hours per day.
  • We will take daily walks (1/2 hour per day).
  • We will attend church together at least one weekend per month.
  • We will take two family vacations, spring break and summer week.
  • I will become involved in my child’s school activities/join the PTA.
  • Insert other family traditions.

Home Improvement Resolutions

Goal: I will maintain a clean, inviting, beautiful, and well-organized home in 2010.

  • I will keep the house clean and gorgeous. Daily, I will straighten, sweep, trash out, dishes, and beds. Weekly, I will clean the house w/checklist (specify when you will do weekly cleaning).
  • I will organize and clean these areas in January and February. Home office.  Basement
  • I will organize and clean the garage this spring.
  • I will make these home repairs (specify:)
  • I will plant an herbal garden this spring.

Personal Finances Resolutions

Goal: I will take steps to build my personal financial security in 2010.

  • I will create a budget in January.
  • I will not accrue any credit card debt in 2010.
  • I will save $X money each month/week.
  • I will file my 2009 tax return by April 15.

Career Resolutions

Goal: I will work at an enjoyable and satisfying job in 2010.

  • I will network with people in my field every other month.
  • I will join a job-related organization in January and participate on a committee.
  • I will attend two professional development courses or one conference in 2010.

Are You Ready to Write Your New Year’s Resolutions?

December 28, 2009

Is your life just the way you want it?  Are there things you would change to make your life better for yourself, or for your family? Are their things about your life that you would like to preserve?

The New Year is a wonderful time to reflect on your life and embrace the power you have to preserve and change certain aspects of it.  Of course, there are things about life we can’t change or control.  But there is so much that we can do, even small changes, that can make our lives better.  Examining what you want from life and setting personal goals, or New Year’s resolutions, can be a step in that direction.

The first approach is I recommend is that you set aside time to think about your life and what you want for yourself and for your family. This worthwhile exercise does take time, but the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is a good time for this kind of reflection.  You can think about this while walking, or talk about it with your friends or family.

At some point, you may want to spend some time alone, writing or typing your personal goals. I am sure the writing point is the place where many people hesitate and do not move on with their resolutions.  Let’s examine that.  Why is the process of writing down your dreams and goals so daunting?

  • Not sure how to set goals. You may not know how to set goals for yourself, or you may have a vague idea of goal-setting that isn’t really actionable for your life.  I was not taught how to set goals for myself, and it is not an innate skill.  There are many approaches, and some of them are complicated. I found several techniques online, and adapted them for my own use, which I will share in this blog this week, before the New Year begins.
  • Fear of failure. Maybe you have set personal goals or resolutions before, and have failed.  Well, no one likes to fail.  Personal change is difficult.  It may involve sacrifices of time, money, and other resources.   It can be painful, at first.  Failure, partial or entire, is a possibility, especially if you’re contemplating a big lifestyle change, like stopping smoking or losing weight.  One effective way to counter the fear of failure is to write down all the obstacles that you think you may encounter in achieving each goal, and decide how you will overcome them.  Writing down the obstacles will help make them seem more manageable and less anxiety-provoking.  Another way is to break your goal into many pieces or steps.  If you achieve some of the steps in a year, but not all of them, that cannot be called a failure, really.  Just progress, on your way to your ultimate goal.  For example, this year, I did not lose the weight I was supposed to lose.  Of course, I’m disappointed.  But I did develop healthier eating habits, and I gave up eating some unhealthy foods, and I started walking and exercising more toward the end of the year.  So, that is progress toward my goal.
  • Fear of success. Successful personal change can be nearly as intimidating as the fear of failing.  Perhaps the people around you may not fully support you or embrace the new changes you make.  Can you imagine the fallout if you became more successful?  More attractive?  More wealthy?  More happy?  Jealousy is a reality.  You might make new friends, but you might lose some, as well.  That has happened to me before.  It hurt, but as one counselor told me, real friends are there for  you when you are successful, as well as when you are down and out.  Visualize yourself when you have achieved your goal.  What will your life be like?  What kind of people can you involve in telling about your goals, and supporting you along the way?  Who will be your cheerleaders?   Who will help you celebrate your success?
  • Contentment. If you’re reasonably content now, why shake things up with resolutions that may create their own set of problems, you may wonder?  Contentment is a wonderful place to be.  Just be sure that it is not disguised as a comfortable rut.  Even if you don’t feel like you have changes to make, perhaps think about the things you would like to preserve that have brought about your contentment, and what steps you need to take to maintain your present good quality of life.

An Action Plan!  Sometimes, all you need to get started are the right tools. I did not create these tools, but they are free to share, and I think they are helpful.  They are PDF files where you fill in the blank to write your own personal goals.  A completed example is also attached, which should guide you as you write your own personal goals and action planc.  Download these tools for writing down your New Year’s Resolutions: action-plan1 and action-plan-example.

Stay tuned for more suggestions in the blog this week on how to write effective New Year’s resolutions.

Statistics about New Year’s Resolutions

December 27, 2009

Have you thought about making New Year’s resolutions? If you’ve been avoiding it, you’re not alone.  Did you know that just over half of people make New Year’s resolutions, according to surveys? So, nearly half of all people don’t even bother, although the trend is for more people to make resolutions.

According to a Harris Interactive poll conducted last year, 66% of people surveyed made New Year’s Resolutions.   Among people who have made New Year’s resolutions, women are more likely than men to make New Year’s resolutions (74% of women, versus 58% of men ear’s resolutions, but interestingly, men are more likely than women to say they were successful at keeping their resolutions.  Their success at meeting their goals may have something to do with the fact that men are more likely to share their resolutions with their spouses (41% of men, versus 29% of women).

The most common New Year’s resolutions revolve around health.
The number one resolution people make, according to polls, is to get more exercise.  People also commonly resolve to lose weight, eat a more healthy diet, get more sleep, stop smoking, reduce stress, drink less alcohol, and take medication as prescribed.

What keeps people from keeping their resolutions? The most common obstacle cited was financial limitations, followed by lack of time and lack of motivation.  Respondents said the hardest resolutions to keep were resolutions to stop smoking and to get more sleep.

Would you like to make resolutions this year? Stay tuned for more blog posts this week on how to tackle this exercise in personal goal-setting.

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