How to keep your New Year’s resolution

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It’s that time of the year again!  Right now millions of people all around the world will be thinking about their New Year’s resolutions.

Last year we tracked hundreds of people who were trying to keep their resolution, asking them to report on their success and the techniques that they were using.  The results suggest that many of the ideas recommended by self-help experts simply don’t work.  We have developed a fun quiz on off the back of this work that predicts the likelihood of you achieving your resolutions – try it here.

We have also posted lots more about the work, including ten tips for keeping your resolutions over on the 59 seconds site.

Part of the work revealed that you will increase your chances of achieving your aims if you tell others about your goal.  So, what’s your resolution?

38 comments on “How to keep your New Year’s resolution

  1. Surely the best way to keep your new year’s resolutions is to make a point of only picking easy-to-keep resolutions in the first place.

    My resolution one year ago (at the beginning of 2009) was to take a more active role in comments threads on my own blog, i.e. to post replies to comments received.

  2. To finally finish my book. There, I told other people about it.

  3. gordonrutter says:

    My New Years resolution will be 800 x 600

    Thank you

  4. If I make NY resolutions, I keep them by making them something positive. Why do they have to be “I will stop doing X”? This years may be, I will finally go to a Skeptics in the Pub event, despite always being on a school night.

  5. I don’t know for certain what my new years resolution will be, but I’ll probably go with the same one I make every year. “This year I resolve not to waste my time by making a new years resolution … shit.”

  6. Laura says:

    I am going to resolve to start smoking

  7. Caroline says:

    I will beat my kids everyday until they behave themselves.

  8. ARJ says:

    Like any self-respecting Cretin, I resolve to make no New Year’s resolutions for 2010.

  9. beadingoff says:

    I did a great job with eliminating all of the daily diet sodas this year. In 2010 I need to stop eating chocolate which is my #1 vice.

  10. DeepField says:

    I will resolve NOT to keep my New Year’s resolutions.

  11. lifes says:

    I never make any resolutions….dont have anything I want to change…its great being perfect.

  12. idoubtit says:

    Kindler, gentler skepticism. Because I can sometimes be too bitchy…
    http://idoubtit.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/kinder-friendlier-skepticism/

  13. Ythaca says:

    I resolve to stick to my elimination diet because I need to stop the headaches. I know I can do it.

  14. Nopke says:

    Winn the lottery … how to keep that one .. well, buying lottery tickets sounds like a good start … And if I dont winn .. that’s not my fault …

    And as well .. keep the proper balance mind wise .. To see but not to see all all the time. Which is not easy as the body keeps changing this balance as well … so all not in your own control .. changing body system leads to a changed mind pattern .. and it’s at times more important not to think twice or at all during those moments/days.

    Life itself will force you through life most of the time .. whether you like it or not.

  15. Lux says:

    When I was younger I thought that you had to make them and subsequently thought I was a big failure because I never kept any of them. I figure that U2 summed it up best, “nothing changes on new year’s day”.

    If I had to though, and as with tradition it’ll be one that’s too hard to keep, so I’ll try to not rely on getting high every day.

  16. namowal says:

    I’m going to finish the animated cartoon I’m working on and post it on the internet. Even if
    1. I don’t feel inspired (or talented, or awake)
    2. The computer freezes or crashes. (No excuses. Reboot and keep going)

    p.s.
    Last year an acquaintance boasted to everyone that he was going to lose thirty pounds. At the time I thought he had a lot of nerve, bragging about something he was going to do…
    …but he did it! I suspect that the up front boasting was incentive for him to follow through.

  17. Fizzle says:

    I resolve that I well stop picking my nose.

  18. Sue says:

    Flesh-eating Dragon has the right idea! And easy goals are those that match your real values, not what you think you should want. You have to really want the new behavior, not just the ultimate outcome.

  19. Brian Lagoni says:

    I know from personal experience that making huge changes without any plans at all can be done. Back 2006 I made a serious commitment to change my whole life around. I had no freakin idea how

    It is all about commiting at the right level. I did use planing and other techniques later on to keep the momentum running.

    But I think every mind is different, so it is hard to say what will spur a fire in every single person.

    The only thing I think you can draw from this. DO NOT half ass change work. Make it so bloody important that you just know it WILL absolutely 100% happen and install the mentality of “OK prove me wrong. ”

    “do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda

  20. Paige says:

    Definitely tell others about your goal if you’re comfortable with sharing. For some of us it’s necessary to have others hold us accountable if we don’t have the strength to do it ourselves. I’ve heard of people actually posting videos of their progress on resolutions (such as weight loss) on youtube and gaining confidence and resolve through comments and other feedback from those who watch them.

    As for me, my “New Year’s resolution” is something I know I’ll try to do whether or not it has that label. Since I’m graduating from college in May it’s my resolution to secure a job in order to support myself and allow me to move out of my current crummy apartment. Wish me luck! Lots of it…

  21. I’m blogging about all of my personal resolutions this year:

    http://tryingagainintwentyten.wordpress.com/

    Thanks for the interesting post. I’m taking the quiz now…

  22. cka66l9s1t says:

    ׵³רҵ۹ˮߵ£ȼ׵£MY׵££YC׵£׵רҵص㣬׵£ṩ׵¼֤׵

  23. [...] Part of the work revealed that you will increase your chances of achieving your aims if you tell others about your goal.  So, what’s your resolution? (richard wiseman) [...]

  24. [...] you want more advise on making new years resolutions or want quirky science facts check out Richard Wiseman’s [...]

  25. I have bee getting a lotta emails, blog posts etc etc from my family and friends. Its really funny for me when one immerse into these kinda psycho-babble bullshit when he/she is not gonna adhere to the resolutions!

  26. [...] confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions [...]

  27. @Richard, I linked to your 59 seconds blog post with the tips etc (flagged in this post), but that blog seems to have gone :-(.

    Is the post on this blog now? I can’t get the search engine to work.

  28. [...] to a 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol, nearly 80 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail. While resolutions can be [...]

  29. [...] to a 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol, nearly 80 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail. While resolutions can be [...]

  30. [...] days.  Not great odds… yet, we continually set ourselves up to fail.  Why? According to a 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol, nearly 80 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail. While resolutions can be [...]

  31. [...] like epic failure. Seriously, not being a downer, it’s statistically true. According to a 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol, nearly 80 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions [...]

  32. IT services says:

    IT services…

    [...]How to keep your New Year’s resolution « Richard Wiseman[...]…

  33. [...] of people that make a resolution from the beginning because of various reasons. A 2007 study by RICHARD WISEMAN from the University of Bristol shows that 88% of people who made New Year resolutions fail to keep [...]

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