What better time to reflect on the potential to improve our lives than when ringing in the New Year!?  With the weeks before January 1st having been filled with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, most of us have likely eaten a little more, exercised a little less, and stressed some.  Then comes the inevitable question, “So, what are your resolutions for the New Year?”

Of course, while  we all have good intentions when making those resolutions for the year ahead, more often than not these resolutions are broken shortly thereafter.  A 2002 study conducted by the Journal of Clinical Psychology indicates 45% of Americans typically make New Year’s resolutions – 64% of which are broken by January 31st!  Statistics provided by this study further indicate only 26% of resolutions are maintained past 6 months, with a mere 8% successfully remaining on track long enough to be fully-achieved (http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2011-12-30/health/fl-new-year-resolutions-tips-20111230_1_resolutions-personal-trainer-personal-finance-gurus).

But what if we didn’t break these traditional resolutions?  What if we actually stuck with them?  Think about the following common top resolutions in terms of the benefits there are to garner from actually keeping them:

  1. Quitting Smoking
    1. Immediate and long-term health benefits: lower blood pressure, improved circulation, increased lung function, decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, smoking-related cancers, and/or death. (http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/lung_disorders/JohnsHopkinsHealthAlertsLungDisorders_577-1.html)
    2. Social health benefits: As contemporary society has placed more of an emphasis on health, smokers have been “edged out” of many venues.  In July 2011, there were already 27 states that passed laws banning smoking in public places. (http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/19/should-smoking-be-banned-in-public/)
  2. Adopting a Healthier Lifestyle
    1. Physical health benefits:  Studies suggest losing weight (and keeping it off) is more about adopting a healthier lifestyle through nutritious eating habits and exercise than “dieting”.  (http://www.webmd.com/diet/default.htm)
    2. Social health benefits: Regular exercise optimizes physical and mental energy levels, stimulates the brain to improve mood and self-esteem, and encourages greater socialization. (http://www.livestrong.com/article/107269-importance-exercise-eating/)

The rewards of sticking to each of these resolutions are obviously well-worth the extra time, effort, and willpower it may take to stick to them!  An article published earlier this week in Forbes details the following 7 tips provided by best-selling author and executive life coach Marge Worrell that may help us stick to those resolutions and accomplish our goals for the new year (http://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2012/01/03/want-to-keep-your-new-years-resolve-the-entire-year-ahead/):

  1. Connect to core values.
  2. Be specific.
  3. Design a supportive environment.
  4. Focus on one resolution at a time.
  5. View failures as temporary setbacks that make your goals meaningful.
  6. Focus on the process rather than the goal itself.
  7. Do one thing every day that moves you toward your goal.

 

So, how about this year we all resolve to keep our New Year’s resolutions?  At least long enough to skew the current statistics.