Jan. 1, for most of us, symbolized the chance to start over. Many people took time to make resolutions, usually dealing with health, fitness, self-improvement, finances, or relationships. But a study done at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania shows that only 8 percent of Americans actually keep their New Year’s resolutions. (Go to statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/ for more about this research.)

So why is the percentage of the successful so small? Are you part of that 8 percent? If not, how can you get there?

Consider these facts:

  1. The main reason people don’t keep resolutions is their goals are too vague or unrealistic. Note these ideas from the book, The Mindful Diet by Ruth Wolever, Ph.D., and Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N.: “Vague goals (I will be healthier this year) lack guidance and often leave people without any idea of where to begin. Unrealistic goals, on the other hand, are impossible to achieve in a healthy way or don’t take real life into account, such as ‘I’m going to lose 20 pounds in six weeks.’ Unrealistic goals set us up for failure.” A realistic, specific goal must involve a time frame and a specific action. For example, “I will run/walk for 30 minutes three times a week and evaluate my progress in one month.”
  1. Another key reason people don’t keep resolutions: We try to make too many changes in a short period, all at once. Too many changes create anxiety and confusion. Rather than making Jan. 1 the one and only start goal, take each month of the year (or three months at a time) to introduce a realistic and specific goal. Here are some examples: “From January through March, I will stop eating refined sugar and instead eat sugar that’s naturally found in food. From April through June, I will do 30 minutes of exercise three times a week.”

Yes, it’s good that you set goals for a healthier, happier you for 2017! But re-check them to be sure they are specific, realistic, and start slowly. Be kind and gracious to yourself if you slip on your resolutions. There are still more than 300 days in 2017, and all of those days are great days to start over. Change takes time. As long as you keep trying, there is always hope for progress and a happier, healthier you!

mary_waughMary Waugh
Detox volunteer from Tampa, Florida, certified ISSA fitness trainer, and yoga teacher.


Website: marywaughfitness.com | IG: @marywaughfitness | Twitter: @marywaughfit