Creating New Year’s Resolutions That Last

While there are no specific figures, it’s estimated that around 44% of people will make at least one New Year’s resolution.

But how many of those actually last?

Some studies suggest that 13% of individuals don’t last longer than a week, with 45% giving theirs in before February 1st.

Only 43% are estimated to make it to the 3-month mark, 40% to the 6-month mark, and just 19% who make are still sticking to their resolutions after 2 years.

Which doesn’t sound too promising, does it?

But rather than just take estimations, we found a study which investigated 10,662 participants and analysed their success.

The participants were split into 3 different groups:

1. Those with no support
2. Those who received some support and social support – meaning they received additional follow-ups as part of the study, were given information on how to maintain their goal, and were able to nominate a friend or family member to support them.
3. Those who were given extended support – meaning they were asked to set goals based on processes, rather than avoidance, and were given information and education on goal setting, and had monthly follow-ups.

The participants made a variety of resolutions, but they could be separated into various categories including:

• Improving health (33%)
• Losing weight (20%)
• Improving their diet (13%)
• Quitting smoking (2%)
• Finding love (1%)

What were the findings?

By the end of the study, 54.7% of participants had achieved or maintained their resolution.

But beyond that, the study found that the individuals who set approach-based goals – i.e. process-based, such as exercising 3 times a week – were 25% more likely to be successful than those who had avoidance goals – e.g. cutting out takeaways or fast food.

And, unsurprisingly, the group with the greatest social support had the highest rate of success when it came to achieving or maintaining their resolutions.

So how can you use these findings?

When setting your goals or resolutions, focus on leveraging process-driven goals, rather than avoidance-based ones.

Remember, in order to get there, you need to know where you’re going.

Secondly, make sure you’ve got as great a social support system in place as possible.

Involve family, friends, or colleagues, and get them on board with the same processes and systems you’re using.

And finally, be specific about what it is you want to achieve:

Your goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Dependent.