Don’t Give Up on Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Making a list of New Year's resolutions is easy, but keeping them is hard.

It’s February and not only is winter a few weeks closer to being done and over with, the same can probably be said of your New Year’s resolutions.

Every year, along with thousands of others, you promise to make changes in your life – at work and at home. But keeping those resolutions can be tough? (When did you last go to the gym? Are you still smiling at work all day?).

Why is it so hard?

“They are goals that relate to changing habits that have formed for a long time period and these are things that aren’t just small tiny habits, but things that maybe have been subconsciously rewarded for a number of years,” explained Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, business professor at University College London and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review.

Speaking to Charlie Herman, host of WNYC’s Money Talking, Chamorro-Premuzic said only about 20 to 30 percent of us who make resolutions at the start of the year will succeed in accomplishing them.  Depressing, huh? But he says what comes next is the hardest and most important part: Maintaining what you've achieved.

“It takes three or four months to achieving those goals, and most people, again, don’t get there,” he said. “But for those who do accomplish those resolutions, it’s about three or four years, if they can get there, until these new habits feel like natural tendencies.”

To accomplish your goals, Chamorro-Premuzic recommends doing the following:

1 – Prioritize. Don’t pick too many things you want to accomplish, rather chose one or two that you can focus on.

2 – Commit. Tell others what you are trying to do so they can participate in the process (and hold you accountable, too).

3 – Feedback. Seek it out constantly, whether it’s from your co-workers, your friends or, say, you are trying to lose weight, your scale.

4 – Accept Setbacks. Chamorro-Premuzic says you shouldn’t give up when you experience them, especially the first one. “It might be that there are some glitches, but it doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon the resolutions.”

Have you found a way to commit to your resolutions and keep them? Let us know, send us an email (our contact is on the right) or leave a comment.