New Year Resolution #1: Beat the Odds

Team Sunwarriorn

As Americans, we are all guilty of ( . . . or at least most of us are) making grandiose New Year resolutions in a fit of post-holiday emotional letdown and then a week later slipping into a comatose state of self-loathing.  It may look ridiculous from the outside, but it doesn’t have to be. The New Year is a fresh opportunity; it is the only holiday we have that celebrates the passage of time.  It is a perfect time to take an account of your life and plan for the future. The big question is- do New Year resolutions work?

nAccording to the Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJn
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    • 40-45% of Americans usually set New Year resolutions
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    • 17% infrequently set resolutions
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    • 38% absolutely never set resolutions
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The top categories for commonly resolved goals are (USA.gov and Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ)

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  • Lose weight (38%)
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  • Manage debt/save money (34%)
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  • Get a better job
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  • Get fit
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  • Improve relationships (31%)
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  • Get a better education (47%)
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  • Drink less alcohol
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  • Quit smoking
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  • Reduce overall stress and/or work
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  • Take a trip
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  • Volunteer to help others
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*numbers do not add up to 100% due to many people making multiple goals

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Here is the unfortunate truth behind our well intentioned resolutions

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  • Only 8% of people are always successful at achieving their New Year resolutions
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  • 19% achieve their goals about every other year
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  • 49% have infrequent success
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  • 24% never achieve their goals
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It’s enough to break your heart or at least your will, but don’t despair there are ways to beat the odds. When you set your New Year resolutions, really stop and evaluate your goal. Ask yourself the following questions and honestly answer.

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  • Why do I set the particular goals that I set? Do I set similar goals every year?n
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    • If so, what happened before to cause my success or failure?
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    • What do I really hope to gain?
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    • What am I willing to do to be more successful than the average person?
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    • How important is my goal to me?
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    • Do I have a realistic plan to help me achieve my goal?
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So what can I do to actually be successful?

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  • Keep in mind that change takes time and that real change requires real work.
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  • Try to look back on previous efforts to pinpoint obstacles or difficulties (ex- habits, emotions, and/or environment).
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  • Find other people who have been successful in achieving similar goals and identify their patterns and habits that led to success
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  • Encourage your own good behavior. Create an environment that in conducive to success. Find people, activities, or habits that support your efforts and eliminate those that hinder progress.
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  • Set your goal in steps.  Have a clear vision of your overall goal, but set smaller supporting goals to further your progression in a manageable way.
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  • Recognize that there may need to be changes made along the way. Life is unpredictable, but that does not mean you have to give up.
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  • Keep trying. “A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.” (-Elbert Hubbard). Persistence separates the 8% success from the 49% failure.
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Whether you love New Year resolutions or hate them, that is really up to you. Live your life the best that you can, but maybe consider the following:

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"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles", Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3])

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It doesn’t matter what the odds are. If your goal is truly a resolution, you will succeed.  Forget the statistics, find your passion, and achieve your dream.  While the New Year is the perfect time to start, it’s not the only time. If you fail at your first attempt, try again. Keep trying. It may be an old cliché, but “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”        

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