Resolutions: Don’t Overreach

You might actually be surprised that many people claim to have kept their resolutions. According to a Marist Poll, 59 percent of those who made a promise of any kind going into 2014 kept it but only for part of the year. That leaves about 40 percent who evidently did keep their resolutions. Men edged out women 64 percent to 55 percent.

Why do some succeed and others fail?

Behavior therapy experts say it’s resolutions that fail are made casually and not based on reality. There was no clearly defined goal and specific action plan.

“I vow to lose 10 pounds monthly. I promise to exercise an hour every day. I resolve to turn off my smartphone at restaurant tables and during all family meals.”

Overreaching, overly ambitious resolutions tend to fail; each time the stated vow is broken, resolve weakens.

This year, be proactive. Make a plan. Think about the potential triggers for relapse and how you’ll respond. Know why your goal is important and how it will improve your life. Be patient.