As each new year approaches, it is common to reflect on the year passing and to harbor hopes for success in the coming year.

Many people make New Year Resolutions – promises or goals set to achieve a higher level of good health or self improvement that will have a distinct influence on the coming year.

On the local front, the responses range from the traditional “I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions” to true concern for others.

The responses collected from a Facebook post garnered the following responses:

• Forgive and forget, be kind, hope for the best in everyone, remember those loved ones lost.

• Be kind. The world needs more kindness.

• Spend more time with family and friends.

• Be closer to God.

• Help those who stand by me and help those who try to help themselves.

• Stop being so judgemental of those I love the most.

• Keep Facebook comments positive.

• Limit time on social media and spend more time on ME!

The clincher of the responses, however, brought home the use of social media and reader polls with some goals listed and ending with: “Stop answering these questions.”

For those who do make resolutions or set goals as each new year approaches, some of the top answers vary little from year to year.

Losing weight, stopping a bad habit such as tobacco use or alcohol consumption and getting more exercise have ranked among the top three recorded resolutions, according to several resources. Spending more time with family and friends rounds out the top four resolutions made each year.

Money management is another of the top resolutions, with making new friends ranking among the favorite goals set for each year.

According to the website, www.statistica.com, the top New Year Resolutions for 2018 listed healthier eating, engaging in more exercise and saving money as the top three choices, ranking 37 percent. Getting more sleep garnered 24 percent of the recorded responses, with 18 percent of the poll takers listing “read more books” in their choices. Making new friends and learning a new skill both collected 15 percent of the responses, while 14 percent of responders listing getting a job or getting a new job as their goal. Finding a new hobby was 13 percent of the responses. But for those who openly admit they make no resolutions, the poll showed a 32 percent response.

Another website, www.patch.com, listed the most listed and most broken resolutions, with eating better, getting more exercise and spending less money tying at 37 percent. Self-care, or getting more sleep, came in at 24 percent, while reading again came in high on the list at 18 percent. That list also included 15 percent looking to acquire a new skill while 14 percent planned to seek a new job in the upcoming year. Twelve percent responded that they wanted to focus more on their appearance and to focus more on their relationship.

Curbing unhealthy habits such as reducing tobacco and alcohol use reflected 9 percent of the promises made and broken, while the 7 percent who listed going out on more dates pushed ahead of those who listed focusing less on their appearance to 3 percent.

Goskills.com also computed the most commonly made and broken resolutions, with exercise, losing weight and getting organized taking the top three spots. However, that list also placed getting a new hobby in the fourth spot, while “living life to the fullest” placed fifth. Money management took the next spot with people listing “save money/spend less” just above the “quit smoking” goal. That list rounds out with spending more time with family and friends, traveling more and reading more filling the bottom three spots.

However, most New Years Resolutions are quickly broken, with the website stating that the success rate of these resolutions is less than half – at 46 percent. While that may be disappointing to those who fail to keep their initial goals, the website also states that those who say they make no resolutions but set goals only have a four percent success rate.

Whatever your hopes and goals for 2019 might be, the website suggests some strategies to help achieve the things you wish to achieve in this and every other year.

Those strategies include:

* Mentally prepare yourself for change.

* Set goals that motivate you – therefore helping you stay focused on that goal.

* Limit resolutions to manageable amounts. If you want to lose weight, set a reasonable goal.

* Be specific on goals by setting ones that are measurable and attainable.

* Break big goals into smaller goals and move forward once each level is reached. For instance, if your goal is losing 50 pounds, set goals at 10 pound levels rather than just focusing on the end result.

* Write down your goals as a reminder of what you want to achieve.

* Share your resolution with others. Achieving or failing to reach a goal can be discouraging, but sharing your goals can create a support group that can revive your determination to achieve the goal.

* Automate when possible. Create a to-do list or use apps on your phone to help keep you on track.

* Review resolutions regularly and decide if your initial goal was attainable or not. It also serves as inspiration if you have managed to stick to your initial plan.

* If you fall off track, get back on quickly. Delay often leads to discouragement, so continue to focus on your goals – whether it was made as the new year approached or as you move along Life’s sometimes rocky road.



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