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

Negative Factors

On the other hand, people who criticized, lectured, or blamed themselves were statistically more likely to fail. Similarly, those who focused on the problem (excess weight, smoking, etc.) and how it would hurt them were less likely to succeed. People who simply wished the problem would go away or who minimized the seriousness of the situation were also less likely to succeed.
 

Neutral Factors

Unfortunately, how strongly a person desired to change didn't really make a difference. Similarly, the social support system and skills (or lack of skills) to change didn't make much difference either. Interestingly, the specific resolution (weight loss, quitting smoking, etc.) didn't affect a person's chances for success.
 

The Good News

Just the simple act of making a resolution greatly improved the chances of success. What does that mean? In addition to following people who made New Year's resolutions, the study followed a similar group of people who desired change but didn't officially declare a resolution. Only 4 percent of the people without clear resolutions were successful after six months, compared with an impressive 46 percent of people who had made New Year's resolutions.
 
How to put all this information to use? Keep on making those resolutions! And to further boost your chances for success, focus on positive thinking and positive reinforcement.
 
One final thought -- there's nothing magical about January 1. There's no reason you can't use any other date to make a new resolution. Don't wait until next year if you are ready for change now! Make a Valentine's Day resolution, a St. Patrick's Day resolution, or even a Thanksgiving Day resolution! 
 
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