Many people can’t wait to close the door on 2009 and start anew in 2010, giving them an opportunity to resolve to do it differently this time. Of course that’s the heart of the “New Years Resolution” – getting that fresh start. Well, I took the liberty of compiling some statistics from a couple of web-based surveys and did my own mini meta analysis to come up with what might be some trends for 2010. Now by no means is this scientific, but let’s have a look anyway, shall we?
I looked at two surveys, one from squidoo.com and the other from Kalamazoo news (they seem like credible sources, don’t they?). Interestingly enough both surveys had the same major resolutions with a couple of minor ones that were unique to each. So I did a little manipulation to combine a few and I just disregarded some that were really minor (hey, it’s my blog posting here so I can exercise some liberties – right?). Anyway, here are the results of my mini meta analysis on the popular new years resolutions for 2010.
As you can see, the perennial “lose weight” ranks at the top with 22% of the respondents indicating that as their resolution (probably again) for 2010. I’ll explain why I say “again” below. But also notice that the second place resolution with over 18% is about getting out of debt and saving money. That’s a new one and is a solid indicator as to why so many people can’t wait to kiss 2009 good-by. Almost 15% of people want to enjoy life more, or in other words reduce their stress. But I get the impression that people have the expectation that there is still a long road ahead of them financially and with that they expect a moderate amount of stress associated with it – hence the low desire (only 2.5%) of people to want to give up drinking! So for these folks, managing their stress will be key for 2010. The nice part about it is that in losing weight and getting fit (the number 3 resolution), stress reduction is a handy side benefit. So you may actually be able to achieve more than one resolution if you’ve ranked yourself in the top three resolutions.
All right, so here’s why I said that many people are probably making losing weight as their resolution again this year: most people drop their commitment to their resolution by the beginning of February. Why? Experts say that most people become discouraged with the slow progress they initially make and that the happiness they associate with the resolution does not materialize right away.
I want to encourage you that what ever your resolution is, you can make 2010 the first and last year that it is a resolution for you because it can be achieved if you prepare yourself in a couple of simple ways. First, recognize that you are making a life style change by choosing to abandon an old habit and form a new pattern that with time will create a new (more beneficial) habit. This requires sustained effort and repeated commitment – multiple times a day at first and less and less as you progress.
It will involve physical discomfort. As you begin to change, your body will want to respond in accordance with the old habit. You’ll need to choose and re-choose your goal as if your are a person who has already achieved the goal. For example, a fit person does not see exercise as a chore, but rather a pleasure. Start thinking this way (fake it if you have to at first) and your body will respond faster with less resistance.
It will involve emotional discomfort. This is a biggie and one that is often unexpected which causes people to relapse into the hold habit. As you begin to change, the people around you, while supportive at first, might become uncomfortable with the “new you”. They will have to negotiate a new way of relating to you and that may make them uncomfortable. They might begin to say stuff like “you’re getting too thin” (if you want to loose weight). Ignore them. Their discomfort is their problem not yours. Stick to your plan and they’ll get over it.
It’s a matter of time, so take it one day at a time yet balance your success over the span of several days. That way if you have a small set back on one day, it’s not the end of the plan. Pick yourself up and balance it out on the next day. Measure your progress over the span of several months. This gives you time to achieve measurable results before you start to analyze the effectiveness of your plan. Avoid declaring final success until December 2010. That way you have the realistic time span needed to make a complete lifestyle change.
It is possible to make any change you desire for yourself. So make 2010 your year to do it. Best wishes and Happy New Year!
– Paul Kulpinski, LMT