CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As the new year began, we were surrounded by confetti, the clink of champagne glasses and warm kisses. Oh -- and lots of promises. That's right -- overflowing with motivation, we vowed to make the next 365 days different from all those that came before.
But history does have a way of repeating itself, so a few weeks later we find ourselves back at the same bad habits and no real lifestyle change. Our resolutions quietly fade into day-to-day obligations. Why is it that an astounding 88 percent of us fail in our attempt to live healthier? Lots of people have lots of reasons why most New Year's resolutions end by mid-January. I'll give you my take on it.
Goals are great
Problem is, they are too great due to the fact that we typically make pledges in the midst of a celebration spurred on by liquid encouragement. We go overboard with lofty expectations because while in that superhero state of mind, we're capable of accomplishing anything we set our mind to -- right? Right! Well, that is until the confetti settles and our mind gets busy with half a dozen other priorities. Then we're filled with disappointment at our pathetic lack of follow-through.
Resolutions slip, habits stick
You'd think we'd learn after abandoning our goals so many times and yet we continue to set them higher each year. There are plenty of legitimate explanations as to why resolutions have such a short life expectancy. The most common is that they aren't smart -- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. If they are smart, these resolutions stand a chance to become a habit.
Specific: Decide upon and state exactly what you want to accomplish. Vague aspirations go nowhere. For example, a goal to improve your fitness level is vague, but a goal to exercise after work for 30 minutes, four days a week, is specific.
Measurable: Establish a system to evaluate your progress -- there can be no doubt whether or not you achieved your goals. Count steps, keep a food log or attend a certain number of classes are a few ways to track efforts. This will not only make you accountable, it will also keep you motivated.