HAPPY NEW YEARS!
It's that time of the year again! Are you one of the 38% who never make a New Year's resolution? If so, you don't need to read any further. But, if you are part of the other 62% of the population who makes a list every Jan 31st, then this post may offer some helpful tips--or at the very least, some insight as to why hope springs eternal for some of us each beginning of the calendar year.
The statistics aren't very encouraging: according to one site (www.staticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/) only 8% successfully fulfill their resolution goal. So, why do we do it and why do we fail?
Let's first start off with what a New Year's resolution is. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is a "firm decision made on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day to do or refrain from doing something over the course of the coming year." (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com)
That is it in a nutshell and believe it or not, modern society didn't invent it. It seems that this tradition goes back to ancient Babylonians who are rumored to have been the first to start the trend over 4,000 years ago! They also were the first to party on New Year's Eve as well, although for them it was not in January but rather when mid-March. And, it was not one night of festivity but 11 whole days so they had plenty of time to decide what promises they were going to make to their gods in return for good favor. However, in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar switched it to January 1st in honor of Janus, the god of new beginnings. Still, it wasn't officially recognized as January 1st until Pope Gregory XIII with the creation of the Gregorian calendar in 1582. (www.history.com/news/the-history-of-new-years-resolutions)
For those who do keep their resolutions, 63% admit to having broken a resolution at some point during the year while 65% break a resolution within just one month of New Year's! Some studies attribute this to a variety of reasons with the top reasons being:
* Going solo: If you're quitting a habit or tying to get fit, you may have a better chance of success if you find a support system or exercise buddy to establish some sort of accountability for your efforts (or non-efforts, whatever the case)
* Overly ambitious goals: If you're 55 and aim to finally fulfill a childhood dream of winning an Olympic medal, you may want to scale that dream back a little by starting walking and then later running in the local 5K race. Realistic goals are more likely achievable and will reinforce self-satisfaction instead of creating a feeling of failure by not qualifying for the Olympics.
* Giving up too easily: If you started dieting on January 1, don't be discouraged if you haven't lost as much weight as hoped by January 31st-- one day at a time.
* Time Management: Everyone has 5 minutes a day to devote towards something but not everyone has 5 hours a day or 5 days a week of free time. Take an inventory of your commitments and be realistic. If you have young family, your time commitment will be much different than a retiree's. Do what you can and don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
*No Plan: If you don't map out how you will get what you want, you probably won't get there. Even the best of us sometimes need a GPS getting places. Consider making a plan your own internal GPS of sorts so when you get off track, it will help you to end up where you wanted to be.
There are lots more reasons but really, it basically boils down to the fact that many of us create too many resolutions or ones that are unrealistic to achieve, no matter how good intentioned we are on January 1st.
Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/new-year-2016-resolutions-how-to-keep-them-a6792876.html
However, if you are determined to be part of that successful 8%, there are some scientific ways to approach goal setting which may be helpful.
* Writing down goals: Putting your goals in writing helps to visualize and commit.
* Make it personal: Simply put, the more a goal means to you (and not others), the more likely you will try your best to make it happen.
* Small Steps: Break your goal down into small goals to track progress, then celebrate each milestone you set.
Read more about this positive approach:
Despite all the naysayers and dismal statistics, according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, "people who explicitly make resolutions are 10xs more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make them."
So there you go. Whether you are one who loves to make resolutions or not, it is totally up to you but remember, if you do, be kind to yourself and extend the same encouragement to yourself as you would to others.
Some inspirational quotes to get you started.
We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering 'it will be happier.' (Alfred Tennyson)
Now..it's your turn! please share your resolutions with us and keep us updated throughout the year. Will you be part of the 8%?
Happy New Year 2017!
Thanks for reading our blog,
Thanks for reading our blog,
the Trinitas Library staff