Many people have made a New Year’s resolutions by now, and about 36 percent of those people have failed. In five months over 50 percent will fail if the trend does not change from previous years.
Only about 12 percent of people make successful New Year’s resolution.
Dr. Eric Goedereis, Webster University psychology teacher said, “I think that many people ‘fail’ because they are not using what we know about behavior change to their advantage…Instead, real behavior change is about structuring our environments and our activities so that we are more likely to do the things we want to do and less likely to fall into the traps that keep us from engaging in those desired behaviors.”
Goedereis said when people make New Year’s resolutions “what most people are really talking about are their ‘goals’ for the coming year.” He recommended adopting the SMART goal criteria when setting goals. SMART goals is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timeline.
Jon Petter, psychology teacher, said one shouldn’t say “I’ll run every day” because there may be bad weather, so instead say, “I will run three times a week.”
People have been making New Year’s resolutions since the Babylonians 37 centuries ago. Romans made resolutions to their god, Janus, 25 centuries ago, and knights took “peacock vows,” to recommit to chivalry 10 centuries ago.
Jeff Smith, Latin teacher, said his New Year’s Resolution is “to bike Katy’s trail this summer.” Using SMART goals, a better and more attainable goal for Smith is to bike a certain number of miles or for a certain length of time on Katy’s Trail this summer.
Goedereis also recommends making oneself accountable by declaring one’s goal publicly or making a commitment contract, where people put money on the line. Once people complete the outlined goal they get their money back through websites like Stickk.com. Stickk.com also allows people to share their goals.
Chris Allen, biology teacher, said he wanted to eat less sugar as his New Year’s Resolution.
Goedereis said, “As a general rule, resolutions, where people aim to do ‘more’ or ‘less’ of something are too vague to be effective.”
Adhering to SMART goals and this logic, a better goal for Allen would be to stop eating a certain sugary food or foods or limit himself to a specific number of these food(s).
Both Smith and Allen’s goals are quantifiable. One can make a qualifiable and less quantifiable goal but would be more challenging to attain it because it would be harder to measure.
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