Stats on Resolutions Failing
The majority of New Year’s Resolutions are based around self improvement and include things like losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking or to stop drinking. The number of Americans making New Year’s Resolutions is an astounding 40%, as reported by Forbes in January 2013.
While this is a high percentage the percentage for those who actually achieve their resolutions is just 8%. So why are the numbers so low?
Recent data shows that 75% of people keep their resolution for the first week. This drops to just 71% at the two week mark. At the end of the first month the number is just 64% with just 46% making to the 6 month mark.
Younger people have a higher success rate with people over 50 having the lowest. While many people do have success with their resolutions the numbers show that only 49% of people manage any type of success at all. The number of people who reportedly never have success at all comes in at 24%.
Why Resolutions Fail
The main reason why New Year’s Resolutions fail is simply because people either make too many resolutions at one time, or they make ones that are insurmountable. The majority of people are extremely busy and if you suddenly add a long list of resolutions into the mix, you are doomed before you even start.
The best advice for anyone starting a resolution is to make one at a time and make it a simple one. If your overall game plan is complex then start with a new resolution as soon as the first one is completed. No one says you can’t begin a new resolution in April or September. This is a good way to approach a more involved series of resolution and helps you see that it is attainable.
People who make a specific New Year’s Resolution are the ones who are most likely to succeed.
Willpower is responsible for not achieving your resolutions. This is something that many people blame by stating that they just don’t have the willpower to follow it through. In fact everyone has the willpower for anything, you just need to believe in yourself and tell yourself that you do have the willpower.
As Forbes stated in their article on Jan 1, 2013
You have as much willpower as you think you have, essentially. Which means that on some level, your journey toward self-improvement will be a self-fulfilling prophecy?
If you would like to get technical then there is a scientific reason why New Year’s resolutions fail and that is due to your prefrontal cortex. This is the area of the brain that is responsible for helping you to stay focused, for solving tasks and it is the area that deals with short term memory.
Researchers have seen that the minute you commit to a New Year’s Resolution your brain just cannot handle this. In scientific terms this phenomenon is known as ‘cortex overload’.
You can understand this better by viewing your frontal cortex as a muscle in your brain. As with all muscles they need to be trained to reach optimum performance. Training should begin by dicing your resolutions into baby chunks and adding one small chunk into your routine each day. This way you are most likely to keep your resolution over a much longer time period.