How to keep a New Year’s resolution


By Jackie Wolgamott - For The Times-Gazette



The Kamelands Trail at the Highland Nature Sanctuary in eastern Highland County is pictured.

The Kamelands Trail at the Highland Nature Sanctuary in eastern Highland County is pictured.


Photo by Jackie Wolgamott

Making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition that dates back more than 4,000 years. Historians believe that Babylonians are one of the first cultures to celebrate the changing of the year. Their resolutions were to pay off debts and return borrowed objects.

New Year’s is a time to reflect on the past year and to make new goals. According to finder.com, approximately 74 percent of Americans will determine to learn something new, make a lifestyle change or set personal goals to make themselves better. However, according to Psychology Today, most resolutions fail. Seventy-seven percent of Americans will keep their resolutions one week and only 19 percent will have kept their resolutions for two years.

Resolutions fail because people don’t have the ability to control their own actions, emotions or urges. People blame their failure on forgetting or being too lazy.

According to a study by Clinical Psychology, only 46 percent of Americans who make resolutions are successful. How can a person succeed in their New Year’s resolution?

First, mentally prepare yourself for change. Take personal inventory and ask yourself three questions: What did I set out to do in the past year, where did I make progress, and where did I not make progress? Remember not to make big changes. Instead, changes should be gradual, building on small changes and allowing for error.

Secondly, people need to be motivated. Find people who have the same goals. Set a goal that is important to you, something that is a value or benefit to you. Make sure your resolutions align with your goals, your priorities, your dreams, your aspirations.

Thirdly, change your negative thoughts. Everyone relapses, but just because you made one wrong bad decision doesn’t mean you have to continue down the wrong road. If you make a bad decision, move forward and continue to achieve your goal.

Select reasonable and realistic dates. Set up a plan to meet your resolutions and then set a time to start your plan. Some people find it helps to write it on a calendar, such as a business appointment. You can also set a timer on your phone to remind you.

Monitor your gains and relapses. Figure out why you relapsed and make a plan to change your behavior that caused you to relapse. Some people find it helps to keep a journal, being able to look back at what caused the relapse and what helped to achieve their goals.

Limit your resolutions to a manageable amount. Make goals in small amounts, such as a goal to lose 50 pounds, but start with 10 pounds. Be specific with your goal, as if you want to learn a specific language before taking an international trip.

A resolution made by a Hillsboro resident for 2022 is to hike as many trails as possible. First, write down all the trails to hike. Second, write on the calendar what trails to walk on a certain date available.

Finally, celebrate reaching your goal. If you goal is to lose weight, buy yourself something that fits or go shopping with a friend. If your goal is to get a new job, celebrate with your friends. Keep records of your accomplishments.

Sources for the story included finder.com, Psychology Today, merriam-webster.com and goskills.com.

Jackie Wolgamott is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.

The Kamelands Trail at the Highland Nature Sanctuary in eastern Highland County is pictured.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/12/web1_New-Year-s-resolution-to-hike-1.jpgThe Kamelands Trail at the Highland Nature Sanctuary in eastern Highland County is pictured. Photo by Jackie Wolgamott

By Jackie Wolgamott

For The Times-Gazette