Like millions of other Americans, you probably made some New Year’s resolutions regarding your health. Maybe you wanted to lose weight, or exercise more, or quit smoking. And like the vast majority of Americans who made such resolutions, you probably won’t meet your goal. Polls have found that by springtime, 68% of Americans who made a New Year’s resolution have broken it. After one year, only 15% claim success.
But don’t despair. The secret to self-improvement is persistence, not perfection. Spring is the perfect opportunity to renew your resolutions, or to make new ones.
“People do it all wrong,” says Robert Butterworth, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles. “The worst time to make New Year’s resolutions is on New Year’s Eve. We’re exhausted after the holidays. We’re stressed out. The weather is bad. Everybody is talking about it and watching what your resolutions are.”
Still, at least half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, which is why health clubs, diet programs, and smoking-cessation clinics spend so much on advertising at the end of the year; they know millions of people on Dec. 31 are going to resolve to lose weight and get fit.
Spring, however, is a better time to set such goals, according to Butterworth. “The weather is getting better,” he says. “It’s a less stressful time; we feel more energized.” Spring is also an ideal time to reassess your resolutions and modify your strategy for success, according to psychologist Stephen Kraus, PhD.
“I do it quarterly,” Kraus says. “One of the goals my wife and I set this year was to get back into meditation. We got off to a pretty good start in January, but one thing led to another and we fell out of the habit. By March it was time for us to look at our goals and make plans for the second quarter. And we recommitted ourselves to that goal.”
Ultimately, Kraus says, success depends on two things — desire and the right strategy. The trick, therefore, is to constantly renew your desire to achieve your goal and keep modifying your strategy until you achieve it.
Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!