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New Year’s resolutions: Make ‘em to break ‘em
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Gyms across the country fill up in the weeks following the start of a new year, as people start out with good intentions to keep their resolutions.

It happens every year. We fiercely stare down the end of one year and anticipate the start of a new one. Many people make this transition by making New Year’s resolutions.

And before Valentine’s Day, many of those resolutions have been broken. According to U.S. News, about 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February.

Making New Year’s resolutions isn’t a new thing. The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make them, around 4,000 years ago. The Babylonian people would make promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. If they successfully kept their word, their pagan gods would bestow favor on them in the coming year.

In ancient Rome, citizens offered sacrifices to Janus, the two-faced God whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches. They believed that Janus looked backwards to the previous year and ahead into the future, and Romans made, along with their sacrifices, promises of good conduct in the coming year.

The tradition of making resolutions carries on today, with as many as 45 percent of Americans claiming to make them, and only 8 percent achieving success, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

The top three New Year’s resolutions made for 2018, according to @StatistaCharts, included eating healthier, getting more exercise and saving more money, all made by 37 percent of those polled. Twenty-four percent of those polled said they wanted to focus on self-care, while 18 percent resolved to read more. Of those polled, 15 percent wanted to make new friends or learn a new skill, 14 percent wanted to get a new job, and 13 percent planned on taking up a new hobby.

And then there were the 32 percent, in that poll, who refused to make New Year’s resolutions.

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions made every year fills the gyms for at least two or three months: taming the bulge. More than 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so this isn’t a big surprise.  WalletHub, a personal finance website, recently released its report on 2018’s fattest states in America, and found that collectively, Georgia needs to hit the gym and ease back on the French fries.

The survey found among the 50 states, Georgia ranked 21st in its percentage of obese adults, ninth in the percentage of obese children, and fourth in its percentage of physically inactive adults. The state also ranked 15th for its percentage of adults with high cholesterol, and ninth for its percentage of adults eating less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day.

Georgia also ranked 12th for its percentage of adults with Type 2 Diabetes, eighth for its percentage of adults with hypertension, and 20th for its obesity-related death rate.

So…we all know we need to do better, to make those resolutions stick. But how?

To break the cycle, here are six tips from 

  1. Define your goal. Decide on a timeline for your goal, and set up small milestones along the way. This will help you feel you’re “getting there” before you, well, get there. Making a clear and achievable plan will help ensure you meet your goals.
  2. Be mentally tough. Whatever your goals, it’s not going to be easy. Realize and accept that up front, and it will help you be prepared, even when faced with temptation to break your resolution.
  3. Think positive. Positive thinking plays a critical role in overcoming a bad habit. Shut down the voice in your head until it becomes a source of positive encouragement.
  4. Be patient. Changing your behavior and making it stick will take time. Make the effort to stay on track throughout the process.
  5. Practice forward thinking. Figure out what made you fail last time, and then move forward. Don’t stay focused on past failures.
  6. Choose not to fail. Choose to not let mistakes derail you, power through the tough times, and move determinedly toward your goal.