Though 40 per cent of us make them, according to U.S. News, 80 per cent of us abandon our New Year's resolutions by mid-February.
But don’t despair.
There’s a growing trend taking hold to begin tackling New Year’s resolutions in February instead of the traditional January 1st race to the gate.
So you’ve got another shot at it.
But why is it so hard to keep our resolutions?
A survey by Body Nutrition found that 62 per cent say that anxiety and work obligations were the number one obstacles to achieving their New Year’s goals.
“Anxiety was primarily an issue for younger people and women, and work obligations were more of an obstacle for men than women,” Body Nutrition expert Michael Aragon told us. “The next biggest obstacle was family obligations. Again this was more of an obstacle for men than women.”
The survey asked 500 people (333 women and 167 men) what they believed their biggest obstacles were in fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions for 2019.
“We went in expecting to see a bunch of people taking on big drastic diet changes, going to the gym, and being bogged down by time and self-control. We did see this, but it wasn't as many people as we expected,” Aragon told us. “More people than we expected were focused on smaller more achievable changes like drinking more water.”
Out of the 500 people surveyed, 154 say their goal is simply to drink more water. Others said they were hoping to avoid sugar and processed foods. Aragon says he and his colleagues were a bit surprised to find that more people weren't focused on working out or big diet changes.
“I think this means people are more interested in making a goal they can stick to, which we believe is healthier long term,” Aragon told us.
According to a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the best way to overcome obstacles and stick to New Year’s resolutions is to focus on goals that offer immediate rewards instead of long-term goals that offer delayed rewards.
And here’s more good news.
The study, which examined the lives of 200 people over a two-year period, found that of the 40 per cent of us who make New Year’s resolutions, though many of us don’t follow through on them entirely, we are actually ten times more likely to see an improvement in our lives after six months than in those that didn’t make any resolutions at all.
Aragon says the Body Nutrition survey found that meal-prepping and drinking water were two of the biggest nutrition-related goals for 2019. Exercising more was the top fitness resolution for 2019, to no real surprise, points Aragon, but what was a surprise to him was how many people's goals were more about self-care, and more sleep. More people were focused on self-care and sleep than exercise.
“We were also surprised by the number of people struggling with anxiety and depression,” Aragon told us. “2019 looks like it will be a year focused on self-care and mental health, which may not be a bad thing in today's fast moving world. We find less and less time to let our bodies and minds rest. There is a constant pressure to preform, in our careers and for social media.”
Patricia Tomasi is a mom, maternal mental health advocate, journalist, and speaker. She writes regularly for the Huffington Post Canada, focusing primarily on maternal mental health after suffering from severe postpartum anxiety twice. You can find her Huffington Post biography here. Patricia is also a Patient Expert Advisor for the North American-based, Maternal Mental Health Research Collective and is the founder of the online peer support group - Facebook Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group - with over 1500 members worldwide. Blog: www.patriciatomasiblog.wordpress.com