How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick [INFOGRAPHIC]
By ADAM PIOTROWSKI
Ah, a new year, a fresh new start, a new you, right? Every year when that calendar resets to 1/1, millions of Americans make an enthusiastic vow for change. Whether your resolution is to lose weight, quit smoking, get healthier, or anything else that will help you get more out of life, we know change is not easy to accomplish.
We took a look at the data, did the research, and came up with some ways to help you be one of the people achieving successful New Year’s resolutions this year.
New Year’s Resolution Statistics and Data
Every year, some 45% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions. Interestingly, more Americans (57%) take a shot at hitting a lotto jackpot each year than make a resolution to take a shot improving their lives. While those resolutions range from big to small, the most popular ones are:
1. Lose weight
2. Get organized
3. Spend less, save more
4. Enjoy live to the fullest
5. Get fit and healthy
6. Learn something new
7. Quit smoking
8. Help others
9. Fall in love
10. Spend more time with family
Losing weight is a common goal for many people looking for positive change in the new year. Of people who do set New Year’s resolutions, 38% set resolutions related to weight. Weight loss wins out over most of the other themes, with 34% setting resolutions related to money and 31% resolving to focus on relationships. The most popular theme, though is people looking for self-improvement, with 47% of people setting resolutions aimed at bettering themselves in some way, although getting healthier could certainly fit into that category as well.
New Year’s Resolution Success Rates
52% of people feel confident they will succeed, but on average, just 12% of people fully achieve their resolutions in a typical year. Of people who do succeed from year to year.
- 8% achieve their resolutions every year
- 49% of people are successful some years, but not others
- 24% of people never successfully achieve their resolutions
So where's the drop off? How long do people usually stick to their New Year’s resolutions?
Of the people who do make resolutions each year:
- 75% make it past week one
- 71% make it past week two
- 64% make it past the first month
- 48% make it past six months
New Year’s Resolution:Losing Weight
Sometimes it's great to be #1, but not when you're #1 ranking is for the title of the most obese industrialized country in the world. U.S. obesity rates have climbed dramatically in recent decades. More than one in three U.S. adults (35.7%) and nearly one in five children are obese. If trends continue, it's estimated that around half of the entire U.S. adult population will be obese by 2030. That’s pretty significant when we know that back in 1980 that percentage was down at 15%, less than half what it is today.
Obesity is a common path to some of the leading causes of preventable death including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even some types of cancer. It’s also costing this country billions. Medical costs related to obesity in 2008 reached $147 billion. That's more than federal, state, and local governments spent on unemployment or law enforcement, and more than the federal government spent on education in that same year.
That’s on a national level, but here are the adult obesity rate winners and losers among U.S. states:
Most obese states
1. Mississippi (34%)
2. West Virginia (32.5%)
3. Alabama (32.2%)
Least Obese States
1. Colorado (21%)
2. Nevada (22.4%)
3. Utah/Connecticut (22.5%)
Now before we start planning victory celebrations in Colorado for having the lowest adult obesity rate in the country, at 21% that’s still higher than every industrialized country in the world except for 5 (Mexico, UK, Slovakia, Greece and Australia).
Weight-Loss Resolution Success Tips
1. Make your goals measurable.
- "I want to lose weight" is a wish, not a goal. "I want to lose 15 lbs by losing 2 lbs per week so I can fit into my favorite jeans" is a measurable goal.
2. There's strength in numbers. Find a workout buddy or group.
3. Track your progress both in the gym and in the kitchen with tools like MyPlate and the LIVESTRONG.COM Calorie Tracker.
4. If you mess up, and we all do, forgive yourself and recommit to your goal.
New Year’s Resolution: Quitting Smoking
Not only is smoking is the #1 cause of cancer and cancer-related deaths in the U.S., it's flat out the #1 cause of preventable death in this country. Smoking accounts for one of every five deaths in the United States. If that risk isn’t reason enough to quit smoking, we looked at some data of what a smoker’s true costs are and it was eye opening. Are you curious how much your pack-a-day habit costs you? Every year of smoking a pack per day costs you over $1500 and takes an additional three months off your life. So do that for 10 years and it’ll cost you $15K and rob you of two and a half years of life.
Currently, around 45.3 million Americans smoke, nearly 20% of the adult population, spending an estimated $80 billion a year on cigarettes. $80 billion is more money than GDP’s of nearly half the nations in the world. According to the data we found, 70% of smokers want to quit, 50% have tried in the past year, but only 6% have succeeded.
Here are a few tips from the LIVESTRONG Foundation that you can do NOW to make this the year you kick the habit:
1. Talk to your doctor for medical options such as patches, prescriptions, gum, clinical trials.
2. Talk to your HR department. The Affordable Health Care Act has provisions requiring employer based health plans to pay for smoking cessation programs.
3. Talk to a counselor.
4. Get digital help with the MyQuit Coach App, stop-smoking text alerts from the National Cancer Institute and at online communites like LIVESTRONG.COM's Dare To Quit Smoking group.
Those are just a few tips to help you quit smoking. The LIVESTRONG Foundation has more great resources, including these 6 steps to quit smoking.
New Year’s Resolution Success Tips
Success isn't easy, then again, nothing in life worth having comes easy, right? Here are some tips to put yourself into the success group this year and make your New Year’s resolution stick:
1. Make CLEAR resolutions with a specific goal, otherwise it is just a wish.
- Research has shown that people who make clear resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals than people who do not.
2. Keep it simple and realistic.
- We’re all for aiming for the stars, but smaller, more attainable goals with more frequent "wins" are the best way to successfully create lasting change.
2. Write it down!
- Studies support that those who write down their goals accomplish significantly more than those who do not.
3. Keep yourself motivated by first understanding what it is that motivates you.
- Is it rewards? Is it encouragement from someone you trust? Is it a new pair of jeans? Find what drives you and feed it.
4. Tell your friends and family, tweet it to the world, post it on FB, start a Pinterest board. Make it public, ask for support and make yourself accountable.
- One study showed that people who sent commitments to a friend accomplished significantly more. That same study showed that people who sent regular updates of their progress to friends and family found even more success.
5. Plan rewards for yourself along the way as you hit key milestones.
Remember that 1/1 is not your only chance this year. Be persistent, patient and persevere through the ups and downs along the way.
U.S. Census Bureau
University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology StatisticBrain.com
The LIVESTRONG Foundation