Cawley: Making resolutions? Let’s get real

Most of us have the best of intentions when Jan. 1 rolls around and we make our New Year’s resolutions.

But let’s be honest. How many of us actually stick to those resolutions? Research shows it’s from slim to none as far as success rates go.

Each year, we eagerly anticipate the clock striking midnight and say to ourselves something like “New year, new me,” and resolve to lose weight or stop spending so much money, or get to the gym more.

In fact, those are variations of the top resolutions each year. According to a 2017 YouGov survey cited by Big Think, the top three resolutions for 2018 were eating healthier, getting more exercise, and saving more money.

A 2018 survey showed similar top resolutions for next year, which were to exercise more, lose weight and save more money.

Let’s be real. If you’re not an avid gym-goer already, odds are you won’t become a gym rat next year. Gym memberships will most likely increase next month and you’ll notice a lot more people on the treadmills for a few weeks, but that’ll decline significantly once February rolls around.

And when you’re at your favorite store and a new clothing item catches your eye, odds are you won’t be thinking — oh wait, buying this goes against my New Year’s resolution this year. If you resolve to lose weight or head to the gym more, you might actually be spending more money on fitness clothes for some added inspiration.

According to those same polls, some people decide against setting themselves up for failure. Nearly a third of the respondents to last year’s poll opted not to make any resolutions at all.

For those of us who procrastinate until New Year’s to try to make ourselves a better person, odds are we won’t make much progress. According to a 2015 U.S. News article, 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February.

Research shows that only 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals by the end of the year, according to NBC News.

So, when you’re resolving to make a significant life change, maybe set more realistic goals and remember, old habits die hard.

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