An article on New Year’s resolutions reported that 38.5 percent of U.S. adults made promises to themselves to make changes in the new year. The author’s research also indicated that in general, the older the adult, the less likely any resolution would be made. The group with the highest rate, at 59 percent, range in age from 18-34, while 54 percent of parents with children have made New Year’s resolutions. Three resolutions were consistently cited as the top resolutions across genders: exercising more, weight loss, and eating healthier. Not surprisingly, 43 percent abandoned their lofty goals by February, and 23 percent quit by the end of the first week!
So, why the drop off? People start with the best of intentions, but other research indicates that the percentages remain roughly the same regardless of whether the person is trying to add a good habit or jettison a bad one. As one of the “older” adults who no longer engages in resolutions, I believe I’ve learned from experience, and in my effort to be kinder to myself, I just don’t set myself up for failure anymore (self-fulfilling prophecy—perhaps!). However, as I was researching this topic, I came across some other ideas that I can resolve to engage in:
- Pay someone a compliment every day. Remember how good it makes you feel and spread that joy.
- Stop gossiping. It doesn’t add to the conversation, so don’t bother with it.
- Engage in random acts of kindness. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Pay it forward. Have you ever experienced the wonder of having your Starbucks order paid for by the person in front of you? Didn’t it make your day? Spread the smile.
- Get off your device and read a book a month. Then share the book with a friend.
- Talk to yourself with kindness. We strive to be nice to others but then criticize ourselves relentlessly. Stop! Think nice things about yourself; congratulate yourself on your wins.
- Don’t hold grudges—let them go. You are only hurting yourself.
- Clean out your closets—donate unused items. If you’re not wearing something, someone else may find good use for it.
- Listen more. You’ll be amazed at what you learn.
- Have the courage to make mistakes—and learn from them! It is powerful learning that will stay with you.
- End your day by reflecting on the things that you are grateful for. Write them down so you can look back on all the good things that have happened.
Finally, I hope you will find inspiration in the quote below from the English author Neil Gaiman.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.Neil Gaiman