It’s the eve of the new year, and people are no doubt getting ready for an evening of celebration to ring-in 2015. But what happens on the morning after the festivities when that New Year’s resolution is supposed to begin? How many of us keep to our plans of self-improvement? Not many.
Research from the University of Scranton’s psychology department showed that 71 percent of American’s held true to their promises for the first two weeks. But six months later, less than 50 percent were still keeping up with their resolutions. Max Ufberg from the Pacific Standard dug into the University of Scranton’s achieves, going back to a 1989 study that took 213 participants between the ages of 16 to 75 and tracked their efforts for change in the New Year. The study followed participants for two years, as they tried to keep up their resolutions.
By the end of the study, researchers found only 19 percent held with their resolution. Those who were successful eased into their new lifestyle rather than going cold turkey, and used counter-conditioning to maintain positive associations with their goals. On the flip side, those who failed to keep their resolutions fell into a state of self-blame, wishing their resolution to go away.
Of those who were successful, researchers note that 53 percent of them had at least one slip up. The group had an average of 14 slip-ups over the course of two years. It’s normal to have a few moments of weakness, so long as getting back on track remains a priority.
Few of us will succeed in our goals past the first two weeks and fewer still will maintain them for years to come. But don’t let the statistics discourage you from a time-honored tradition–you may be part of the 19 percent.
Read more at Pacific Standard
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