Oh those fashionable New Year's resolutions. Do you make them? Do you keep them? Do you drop them? Yesterday, while in Manhattan, I was interviewed on the street by a Japanese TV station about New Year's resolutions. I told them that I don't make them, and that the success rate of keeping to them isn't terribly encouraging. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute about half of Americans make them, and about half of those maintain them for the first half of the year; 39% of people in their twenties achieve them, while only 15% of people over 50 do.
All of that doesn't mean that I am without gumption and don't have goals. It's just that I don't feel I need to wait until December rolls around to make a plan, although better December than never. In order to stick to a resolution you have to make it a habit, and a habit builds after about a month of doing something regularly. And the resolution has to have a deep and long-term meaning so it's still attractive come February or March. Another piece to the success of any resolution is some kind of a contract with yourself so that you cannot back out so easily. You might announce your plan out loud to some family members or friends. That way it becomes more difficult to pull out than if you kept it to yourself. Or reward yourself for sticking with it. Earlier this year I absolutely wanted to finish the third-to-last chapter of my upcoming book and I love shoes. The contract with myself was that I got to buy a new pair of shoes once I finished that chapter. It got done pretty fast!