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Why people break New Year's resolutions

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Most of us are guilty of make New Year's resolutions only to end up breaking them. According to a study from the University of Scranton, 45 percent of Americans will make New Year's resolutions, but only 8 percent will actually see them through. For the first week, 75 percent of people will keep their resolutions, however 54 percent will fail after six months.

New Year's resolutions are broken mainly because we get too enthusiastic and end up over-committing ourselves. Look at some of the top five New Year's resolutions they sound easy enough, but they are not:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get organized
  3. Spend less, save more
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Spend more time with family

It's not because we do not have good intentions. Except for No. 4 (I don't smoke), I would love to achieve every resolution on the above list. The problem is that when we make resolutions and even begin them genuinely, we end up breaking them because we don't set realistic goals and think about the reality of actually being able to achieve them.

We set realistic goals and possibly deadlines for achieving them every day. We do it in the course of business, our education and even our personal lives. Yet when we make such goals each year and don't lose those 50 pounds in four months like we wanted, it makes you want to just give up on the rest of the resolution. So, keep to your plan (such as maintaining a healthy diet and/or exercise) and let nature take its course.

Once you've set that goal, put your plan into action. If you plan to spend less and save more money, do some research on how you can do it there are millions of articles, blogs and websites that can teach you how. If your plan means cutting coupons, not buying that new 65-inch screen plasma TV or even giving up the morning latte, stick to it.

So you've made your goal and put your plan into action, but now you must be determined and continue to work toward it. If you stop midway or take a break from it, you're more likely to end up in the failure percentage. If you're trying to quit smoking and something in your life causes you stress that makes you want to start smoking again, it's more than likely that you will never get back on track with your goal to quit if you cave in. Perhaps the answer is to look at the underlying stress factor.

Still, my best advice is to just make one resolution that you can achieve one is a lot easier to keep than several and it also ensures you've really thought through the resolution and the time and energy required to achieve it. Start off small and build on your resolution. If you need to lose 25 pounds, start off by making your resolution for 10 pounds. It's more realistic, you'll be more satisfied when you achieve the smaller goal, and you'll be more willing push forward to the ultimate goal.

If you make too many resolutions, you won't have enough willpower to stick to all of them. Instead, seek support remember you don't have to quit alone. Eat better, exercise and talk with your doctor (they offer both excellent support and can possibly discuss ways to help you quit).

Having said all that, my New Year's resolution is to lose 100 pounds in 3 months. Just joking, but I do plan to eat healthier.

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