- Gabriella Bakus
The Science Behind New Year's Resolutions
It’s January 2022. A new year, a new beginning. But how many people actually make New Year's resolutions?
Why is it so Hard?
As of 2021, only 29% of Americans made resolutions for 2022––a 14% drop from the previous year, according to CBS News. This is not a surprising fact because while it may not seem that difficult, only 7% of Americans actually stick to their resolutions (New Years Resolutions Stats).
Why is it so hard to keep New Year’s resolutions? The biggest reasons are that people tend to set too many unrealistic goals, become discouraged after relapsing, and don’t keep track of their progress.
Tips for a Successful New Year
Start small. Instead of setting life-altering goals from day one, like working out for one hour every day, it is more beneficial to start small. Scientists at Stanford claim that goals can be as small as doing one push-up when going in and out of your room or flossing one tooth a day. Setting small, achievable goals like these are more direct and specific as opposed to simply “working out” or “be nicer.” What will you do when you work out? How will you be nicer? Giving yourself specific and easy goals, like giving a random person a compliment every day, makes these abstract goals a reality. Once you get into the habit of doing one push-up when going in and out of your room, it will eventually build into doing more exercises and going to the gym. The key is to build your goal habits slowly until they become a part of your daily life.
Don’t lose hope. People often think it’s the end of the world (or year) when they have a bad day and break their new habits. It is essential not to feel the guilt of relapse, also referred to as the abstinence violation effect. The faster you get back on track, the better you will feel.
Track your progress. It is important to keep yourself accountable, and by tracking your goal, you will have a better sense of how you need to modify your goal. It will also promote motivation by seeing your success or lack of it.