A New Year’s Resolution Just About Anyone Can Keep

New Year’s resolutions have been popular in the Western Hemisphere. But it’s origins began across the Atlantic Ocean over 4,000 years ago.

The ancient Romans began each new year by making promises to Janus; the god for whom January was named.

The ancient Babylonians promised their gods at the start of each year that they would pay their debts. And return borrowed items.

During medieval times in Europe, knights would reaffirm their commitment to chivalry. This “peacock vow,” as it was known, was taken at the end of the Christmas season.

Better Health Tops the List

These days, close to one-half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. That’s according to Gallop and Epcot polls.

The three most popular resolutions? To eat healthier, get more exercise and save money.

Health clubs also make a killing off New Year’s resolutions with gym memberships increasing dramatically. In fact, January through March are the busiest times of year for these clubs.

Unfortunately, up to 90% of resolutions fail by February and March. Why?

Nearly 90 Percent Fail

Although many of us participate in making New Year’s resolutions every year, only a small number of us actually succeed.

Most of us create resolutions that are too ‘big’ or unrealistic goals we can’t meet. And it’s easy to become discouraged or simply lose interest.

A study conducted at the University of Bristol in the UK revealed that 88 percent of those who made New Year’s resolutions failed to keep them. Despite the fact that more than 50 percent were confident they would succeed.

The study participants were also asked why they failed. About 35 percent said they had set unrealistic goals.

One-third of the group did not keep track of their progress toward their goal. Some 23 percent forgot about it altogether. Ten percent said they had made too many resolutions.

More Realistic Resolutions

By making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year, incorporating healthy behavior into your everyday life.

Start small. It takes 21 days for something to become a habit. If your goal is to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.

Talk to others about your resolutions so family and friends can help keep you accountable.

Don’t beat yourself up. Remember, small steps lead to big changes. Everyone has ups and downs, and allow yourself to recover from mistakes and get back on track.

More Fruits & Veggies a Challenge?

One resolution that would just about help everyone is eating more fruits and vegetables. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of disease. And they are also low in calories and high in fiber.

However, this is a challenging goal for most to keep. And for several reasons.

One, many people do not enjoy vegetables and fruits as much as they do other foods. Including meat and potatoes. Not to mention snack food.

Two, eating fruits and vegetables requires more preparation than many other foods do. And these foods tend to go bad sooner, so too often they are thrown away.

Three, even when people follow through on their commitment to eat more fruits and vegetables, they often choose only the ones they enjoy. This results in ignoring many others that provide important nutrients.

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