January 7, 2014
New Year's resolutions
Every January many people make New Year’s resolutions to improve their lives or stop bad habits. Some people resolve to lose weight, eat healthier, quit smoking or spend more time with families. Jeanne Hansen, a mental health counselor at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. She explains their success rates.
“If you look at that first week, about 75 percent are still gung ho and really doing well. If we go further out, it continues to decrease as time goes on to the point of if we look about six months out from the New Year about half of the people who have set their goals or made resolutions are still working toward those.”
To be successful with resolutions, it’s important to develop a plan for achieving the goals and stay motivated. Hansen suggests setting specific goals that are realistic, achievable and measurable.
“Make them in small steps. Even if you have large over-arching resolutions, are there action plans that you can make underneath there? Hold yourself accountable. Have somebody else hold you accountable. And those kinds of things will help you to get in that right direction.”
Hansen also encourages people to make the kinds of resolutions that are meaningful to them, which will make them more successful. Anyone who has difficulty in achieving their health improvement goals may want to consult their primary care physician or a mental health counselor for help.