Last updated: December 30. 2013 11:34PM - 229 Views
Ryan Carpe Staff Writer

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DARKE COUNTY – Many of us are already lining up our New Year’s resolutions in the hopes that 2014 will lend itself to positive behaviors and new beginnings.

Well good luck, because it’s not easy.

Recently The University of Scranton published a study in 2013 that showed nearly half of Americans usually make an annual New Year’s Resolution, but only eight percent are successful in achieving those goals. That equates to about 130 million people each year breaking their own promises, despite their best intentions.

In the same study, The University of Scranton listed the most commonly listed resolutions which included losing weight, getting organized, spending less and saving more, enjoying life to the fullest and staying fit and healthy.

Sound familiar?

So if you’re one of the millions of people planning on making resolutions for 2014, you’ll likely need some help.

Several guides and websites have already begun catering to hopefuls in anticipation of the holiday, like the U.S. government’s official web portal, USA.gov, which provides a list of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. In addition to the common goals, the website provides a link for a federally supported organization like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Weight-control Information Network or American Job Center to help point in the right direction.

And many more organizations try to help goal-setters along by offering guidelines to not only achieve your resolutions, but how to create them.

For instance, the American Psychological Association recommends to keep New Year’s goals well-defined and brief. A long list of unresolved resolutions will likely make any task seem daunting, and could actually be a detriment in the long run.

And keep away from the abstract.

While setting the goal of of losing weight sounds simple enough, you’re far more likely to succeed if you set a defined plan. For instance, resolving to exercise three days a week is a concrete plan which is attainable and will help you towards your goals.

At least initially,the American Psychological Association recommends smaller goals that have a greater chance of success. If your goal is to write a novel, instead plan to write 500 words a week, and work your way up from there. If your goal is to exercise and lose weight, schedule a workout just a few times a week instead of every day.

After you’ve built up confidence in your routine, you can add to it over time instead of overwhelming yourself with unrealistic goals.

If you do end up setting a resolution that’s important to you, make sure to tell your friends and family about your experiences. Having someone there to remind you of your goals while also hearing about your ongoing progress is a great way to keep you on track. And to improve your chances of success even further, many people join support groups and workout classes to ensure they stay surrounded with like-minded individuals.

If you do fall off the wagon occasionally, just dust yourself off and try again.

The American Psychological Association reminds us that a flawless completion of your goals is unrealistic, and that event the best of us will occasionally splurge on a dessert or take a day off, despite an otherwise spotless record. The important thing is that you retain your resolve and get back on track as soon as possible.

And of course, there’s plenty of people that have already accomplished many of the goals that you’re setting out to do. There’s no shame in acknowledging others and asking for their advice and recommendations when trying to achieve your resolution.

Perhaps most importantly, the American Psychological Association reminds us that the New Year isn’t meant to be the only time we should plan for wide-reaching character changes. Instead, it’s a time for people to meditate on their past year and plan how to make their lives better in the future, whether it’s with one big or several small changes over time.

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