New Year’s resolutions 2017 list, ideas: How to find success

Published 10:15 am Friday, December 30, 2016

The New Year’s resolution often gets a bad rap.

Most people don’t keep it so why even try, says the naysayer.

And that’s partially true. Most people don’t keep their New Year’s resolution, according to statistics from a recent study. The number completely successful: about 8 percent.

Email newsletter signup

The younger you are, the better your odds of achieving a resolution, reveals the University of Scranton study. And, those who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve goals than those who don’t explicitly make them.

Translation: Vagueness will get you nowhere.

But most everybody making a New Year’s resolution has some success, since more than 60 percent of people carry their resolution to at least one month. So it isn’t quite the wasted time some will have you believe.

Most every life change starts with a decision, after all, and that decision needs a starting point. But it doesn’t take a psychology degree to know that most every life change takes several decisions, since humans aren’t usually so simple as turning it all around the first time.

So if nothing else, a resolution can be acknowledgement, or self-projection, that we want better. Thus, our resolutions tell us something about ourselves. So, they are worth saying, and paying attention to, and perhaps even worth trying.

Consider the top 10 most popular New Year’s resolutions as an example.

Number one on the list: Lose weight.

Of course. Most adults would like to shed a few pounds.

Other most popular resolutions, according to the study, are in order:

2) getting organized;

3) spend less, save more;

4) enjoy life to the fullest;

5) staying fit and healthy;

6) learn something exciting;

7) quit smoking;

8) help others in their dreams;

9) fall in love; and,

10) spend more time with family.

On paper, the list seems easy enough to achieve. Last year, for instance, I resolved to lose weight, and began before January working out with a trainer two times per week.

Piece of cake, once I got used to lunges at 5:45 a.m.

This year, however, I weigh about the same, or slightly more, as I did last year. On paper, my resolution failed.

But life isn’t so black and white. Consider that I’m in better shape than I have been in years. For more than half the year I worked out with a trainer and in gyms and in the last quarter of the year I started running.

I’m still running, lugging my extra weight around. But most days I’m so full of energy that I’m ready to knock down most any challenge.

So last year’s New Year’s resolution was a win, even if on paper, it was in the 8 percent. Yet had I not started being more active one year ago, I might be telling a different story.

Other years, I have resolved to achieve something professionally, and the benefit was just as positive. But by focusing on a specific goal, I was able to look directly at myself for achievement, rather than looking at others for excuses and roadblocks.

In other words, most everything in a quest for self-improvement lies within us. Personal goals help us look within, instead of around. If we want a promotion, that responsibility is ours. If we want to lose weight, only we can make that happen.

A resolution won’t get us there. But, it’s usually the first step.

For some, one or two months of success are more beneficial than not having tried at all. For others, the ultimate result may be the most rewarding failure they’ve ever had.