What type of New Years' resolution is most likely to have a positive impact on my life
December 28, 2011 6:19 AM   Subscribe

What type of New Years' resolution is most likely to have a positive impact on my life?

What types of New Years' resolutions are most successful?

By successful, I mean a combination of positive impact on my life if achieved, and likelihood of achieving the resolution. In other words, when people choose a resolution, what factors will help them get the most benefit out of it?

I'm looking for examples of successful New Years' resolutions (e.g. quitting smoking really helped my life), research findings, or specific factors (e.g. measurable goals are most likely to succeed).

Thanks in advance!
posted by damian_ to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't wait until Jan 1. When Step 1 is procrastinate, your odds of success are dramatically reduced. So whatever it is you want to do, start today.
posted by COD at 6:37 AM on December 28, 2011


I break down my goals in to repeatable actions and I promise myself that I can reevaluate the actions in a month if they aren't helping.

For example I might have a vague notion of "getting more fit." Ok, that's a domain. Now I want to choose a "postcard" moment - a picture of what it means to be fit. That might mean running a a half marathon without stopping. Now I need to set my repeatable action for next month. I know that I'll need to build up my endurance, so I'm going to run 3 times a week and I'm going to add on a minute to the duration each time. Next month I'll reassess the action - do I need to tone it down (or up!)? Do I need to choose a more fitting action?

Domain: Get fit
Postcard/Goal: Run a half-marathon without stopping
This month's repeatable action(s): Run 3x a week, increasing duration by one minute
posted by jander03 at 6:54 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


By successful, I mean a combination of positive impact on my life if achieved, and likelihood of achieving the resolution. In other words, when people choose a resolution, what factors will help them get the most benefit out of it?

Well one way to give yourself a better chance for success is to pick something that isn't all or nothing. If your goal is to lose X pounds, and you have trouble losing weight and eventually give up, then the net impact on your life is probably negligible. But if you choose a more broad goal like eating healthier and try making a lot of healthy changes to your diet, at least some of those changes might stick long term and you'll end up being healthier overall. Or if your goal is to learn something, you would probably be better off say picking up some first aid training that will still be useful even if you don't end up putting in a huge amount of effort, rather than trying to learn a new language or some similarly ambitious project that doesn't have much benefit without a lot of effort.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:06 AM on December 28, 2011


There's a story in the WSJ about allowing your sweetie or your kid to pick your new year's resolution for you. The idea is that then you would meet regularly throughout the year to discuss progres. I thought it might work better if you were accountable to someone else. Here is a link to the story.
posted by bananafish at 7:48 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's helped me to set goals for the upcoming year, rather than resolutions. It reframes them into something positive to work on over the course of a year, not something you must start on January 1 or fail forever.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:50 AM on December 28, 2011


What type of New Years' resolution is most likely to have a positive impact on my life?

The kind you will realistically keep.
posted by 3FLryan at 8:59 AM on December 28, 2011


One of the cornerstone resolutions I've made on HealthMonth is to scale back on unproductive "time suck" screen time (for me, that's web surfing). This has freed up the time I need (1-2 extra hours a day) to effectively follow through with my other various goals. One of the biggest problems I've noticed in almost a year of playing on the MeFi HealthMonth team is that time pressure is the biggest enemy of achieving one's goals. So tackle the time problem first, and everything else becomes more do-able.
posted by drlith at 9:29 AM on December 28, 2011


The most beneficial and lasting resolution I've ever had was to floss at least once a day. It's pretty easy to stick to, becomes a habit after a week, and made a huge difference at my biannual teeth cleanings. I don't think I've skipped more than a day in the years since I made it.
posted by millions of peaches at 10:26 AM on December 28, 2011


My best resolution ever was to be kind to myself. Then whenever I had a decision to make during that year, I'd ask myself which choice was the kinder one.
posted by zahava at 1:46 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


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