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Making New Year’s resolutions

By: Bart Moss


Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average… which means, you have met your New Year’s resolution.” -Jay Leno


As we turn the page from 2012 to 2013, many people engage in the ritual of making New Year’s resolutions. I like to call them goals. The problem with New Year’s resolutions, however, is that many, if not most, of them end in failure.

Why does this happen? What can you do to prevent this from happening to you?

I did a quick Internet search and found a study done in 1985 by the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Participants in this study confessed their New Year’s resolution to researchers. The participants were tracked over the course of one year.

Sixty-percent of the participants admitted to giving up on their resolutions after six months.

Why? Most of the time New Year’s resolutions address hard-to-break habits. Habits like eating too much, smoking, lack of exercise, and over-spending.

These are habits that have been developed over a long period of time and are deeply ingrained in us. New Year’s resolutions made on a whim will not solve these types of issues.

So, how do you do it?

Before you start setting goals you have to make a deep commitment to goal-setting, not New Year’s resolutions.

A deep commitment means you have to be committed to goal-setting all year long. Not just one or two days or weeks out of the year. To accomplish anything difficult and meaningful requires real commitment and real change and real goal-setting.

Once you have decided you are committed to change you have to be realistic about what you want to accomplish. You can’t just say you want to lose 20 pounds and that be it and expect it to happen overnight.

Goals have to be realistic and broken down into small, achievable pieces. Sticking with the weight loss scenario, losing one pound a week may be workable.

The next step is to write your goals down on paper and keep them in place where you will see them every day. Make it real. Goals not written down are only wishes. Those only come true at Disney.

Don’t put the pen away just yet. Now you have to develop a plan of action- a very detailed plan. How are you going to get there? What sacrifices are you going to have to make? What steps are you going to take on a daily basis to accomplish your goal? What deadlines are going to place on yourself?

As you go through the process of trying to accomplish your goals you are going to encounter inevitable discouragements. It may even take some time to see any tangible results. You are going to want to give up. You are going to find it hard to stick to the plan. You must see it through. If you can get through the first few rough patches it will get easier to resist the temptation to quit.

Finally, as you make the long journey toward accomplishment, reward yourself. Set milestones. When you reach those milestones, do something special for yourself.

I would encourage everyone to set at least one goal and follow the steps above. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all accomplish something great in our lives this year?

I hope you all have a great 2013! Happy New Year!!!



Joe Bart Moss is a United States History, Government and Economics teacher in the Franklin County school system. He writes a blog on education, success, leadership and current events at He can be reached at or at 256-762-0005.