Resolutions and Goals

With the start of 2019, many pledge to lose weight, save money, and get organized but avoid the effort actually required to change. According to the University of Scranton, just eight percent of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. The start of a new calendar year, among other time markers that come with way less hype, spurs a range of initiations relating to improvement of the self and overall wellbeing. Studies show surges in Google searches around diet and gym attendance in January, with a month-by-month decline. But getting your Goals in check and actually sticking to them can help set you off right for the New Year!

When it comes to effective goal setting, we see lots of methods plucked out -- without being placed up against one another. One is never better than the other. But again, research provides interesting direction.

1. Use a 'commitment device'

This strategy uses something to somehow engage with out process of making a commitment. They work for a lot of people.

This may be a public commitment such as broadcasting your goals on Facebook to keep you accountable. But it may not be your cup of tea.

2. Don't go at it alone

This may be more like it. Garnering social support has to be shown to be crucial for reaching goals -- to the extent that you are happy to share your resolutions with others.

Family and friends, who are supportive of your goals, can help you when you start to meet obstacles and remind you of your goal when you have conveniently forgotten.

Some research has shown that in the area of weight loss, those who signed up to programs with friends were more successful. There are likely a lot of prostheses underlying this effect but the punchline is doing it with others is better than doing it alone. And you're gaining more social benefits!

3. Set a range over a specific goal

This one's controversial. You're resolving to exercise more in 2019. Should you set a goal weight or leave things more open?

If you compare specific goal setting to goal setting that includes a range, the range proves more effective.

Take going to the gym. Rather than resolving to go five days a week for 52 weeks, aim for three to six times a week for 48-52 weeks.

This allows for times when you can't meet your exact goal. It leaves you bottom end leeway, whilst at the top end, you can exceed your goal -- and that feels really good. You can pick up benefits from both ends.

Setting a range should allow you do engage in goal setting more realistically.

4. Try different things

There's this ongoing debate in research about whether you need to do lots of different things to become healthier and happier or whether you do one thing a lot of the time.

Recent research suggests that over a period of time, it is variety.

Take being creative. You don't need to create only one type of thing. You can find different ways to commit to being creative in the new year because that as a whole will give you a good sense of well being.

Matthew Clarke