New Year’s Resolutions: How to Stay With Them?

Derek Fox, CBN Staff

It’s that time of year again, now that the turkey has been eaten and the presents have been unwrapped, a new year is ahead. With 2023 coming in just a couple of days, it is inevitable that another round of New Year’s resolutions will be made. Say goodbye to the peace and quiet you once had at the gym, because it is about to be flooded with newcomers starting January 1st, 2023. But how realistic is it that these resolutions will last, and more importantly what can you do to keep yours?

According to the National Library of Medicine, U.S. Polls demonstrate that an average of 44% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution each year, with about half of them being health related. And of the 44%, 80% fail their resolutions by mid-February (U.S. News & World Report). This is of course a combination of unrealistic expectations, lack of discipline, etc. But what can you do that is scientifically proven to help you stay on track towards your goals?

The first practical way to stay on top of your New Year’s resolutions is to relieve stress. In a study by the University of Zurich, 29 participants were given two food options; healthy and unhealthy. A control group of the 29 were put in a stress inducing situation prior to choosing a food option, and were much more likely to choose the unhealthy one. Based on this study, stress inducing situations leads to a lack of self discipline and control, something crucial to completing your New Year’s resolution. So if you want to retain discipline in 2023 and complete your goal, it is important to manage stress before fighting towards these resolutions.

If you struggle with self discipline, an effective way to stay focused is accountability. By bringing another person into the picture with the same goals, it can increase your likelihood of making likewise decisions towards accomplishment. In a study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by Rick Hoyle and Michelle VanDelen. In one of their experiments, they took 71 volunteers and had them randomly observe each other eating a cookie or a carrot, with no prior interaction. Watching the other participants eat either a cookie or a carrot highly influenced their decision when given the option to eat the two. If just observing others’ behavior can heavily influence the way someone acts, having a friend on the same track to motivate will make keeping up with your New Year’s resolution a breeze. 

Lastly, a highly effective and scientifically proven way to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions is to set specific goals. According to the American Psychological Association, those who regularly set smaller and more specific goals are 90% more likely to accomplish their goals than those with vague goals. If you want to make it past the 80% of people who fail their resolution by February, it will be a great help to push through with smaller goals consistently instead of a broad goal.

New Year’s resolutions are a fun way to start off your year, but the reality is that four out of five people won’t keep up with them by mid February. If you want to push through and join the select few who are successful in accomplishing their resolutions, hopefully these methods backed by science can help. Good luck in 2023!