Posted by Frank Tomasetti

It’s that time of the year when people are making resolutions in an effort to change old habits and move in 2016 being healthier and happier. One study found that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions, according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology.

In a 2015 survey market researcher Nielsen found the Top 10 resolutions that people make:

  1. Stay fit and healthy 37%
  2. Lose weight 32%
  3. Enjoy life to the fullest 28%
  4. Spend less, save more 25 %
  5. Spend more time with family 19%
  6. Get organized 18%
  7. Not make any resolutions 16%
  8. Learn something new/new hobby 14%
  9. Travel to new places 14%
  10. Read more 12%

Here are some other resolutions that people often make at the start of the new year:

  • Quit smoking
  • Get our of debt and save money
  • Be less stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Drink less

Here are a few tricks for sticking to resolutions:

Start on a Monday - Monday is the most popular day of the week for starting a diet or quitting smoking.It's easier to commit to a goal when it's started with a concrete benchmark in mind. New Year's day is a good one, but Monday, the fresh start of a new week, is also effective and sets the tone for the entire week.

Have a Concrete Plan - Good intentions probably aren't enough. You need a solid  plan in place on how you're going to achieve your resolution; those make a plan have far more success.

Forget the Backup Plan - People who have a "plan B" are less likely to attain their original objectives. That may be because having a backup plan seems less like a failure and more like a reasonable alternative. Don’t give yourself this option.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is  - People who agreed to pay cash if they didn't meet their weight-loss goals lost 14 more pounds than those without a financial incentive. Set your goal - whatever it is - and then set a monetary amount you'd be willing to pay if you don't meet your goal. You can also do it the other way around and say that If you reach your goals, you earn a cash reward.

Baby Steps  - Making one massive goal can be overwhelming. Breaking larger goals down into smaller parts makes them easier to achieve and is more gratifying, as you can check off each achievement as it occurs. It will make our goal seem more manageable and let you make the achievements as they happen.

Don’t Rely Solely on Willpower - Willpower is like a muscle in that you can only use it so much before you need to give it time to rest and recover. n order to better resist temptations and keep your resolution, do your more challenging tasks first thing in the day when your willpower is highest.

Stick to It - It takes awhile for new habits to take hold - some studies say at least 30 days. So, you’ll need to stick with your resolution for at least a month.  Once you hit the one-month window you will likely see positive results and may be on your way to creating a new healthy habit.

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