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Every year around this time, people start to indulge with reckless abandon, knowing that in the New Year, things will be different – we will eat one pudding instead of two, make a fleeting attempt to lose weight, and cut back on the alcohol to pre-Christmas soak levels. It is estimated that around 50% of people make a New Year’s resolution...8% of people are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolution.

A quick Google search shows that the most common New Year’s resolutions are:

  • Lose weight and get fit
  • Spend more time with family
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Eat healthy food
  • Quit smoking
  • Save money
  • Learn something exciting
  • Make new friends/fall in love

The Time magazine top 10 most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions are:

  • Lose weight and get fit
  • Spend more time with family
  • Drink less
  • Eat healthier and diet
  • Get out of debt and save money
  • Quit smoking
  • Learn something new
  • Travel to new places
  • Be less stressed
  • Volunteer

Why do we fail so badly when it comes to making resolutions? The main reasons are that we set goals that are sweeping and unrealistic, which usually involve stopping doing something, which is so much more challenging than taking up something new. We also lack the motivation to follow through on these resolutions, or make the fatal mistake of using guilt or fear as our motivation, which is unlikely to work for maintaining willpower in the long-term.

So what is the secret to success? Follow these rules and you may be sailing right through February with your resolution, unlike the majority of your peers:

  • Keep it simple - make only one resolution at a time and focus on this until you have achieved it
  • Make it tangible - your goal should be something that realistically can be achieved, there is no point in making a resolution to be the owner of a yellow Lamborghini when you are currently driving a Camry station wagon
  • Make it specific - a vague goal is a stab in the dark, instead of saying you are going to “get fit”, make your goal that you will walk your dog for thirty minutes each day, five days of the week
  • Be accountable - tell your family and friends about your goal so they can act as hall monitors when you slip up in your quest. Apparently this one works especially well for the female goal setters.
  • Keep believing you can do it - it’s all in your head

Now that you are all motivated to make your goals and see them through the year, I shall leave you with the most important fact of all: There is no correlation between happiness and achieving New Year’s resolutions.

We hope you have enjoyed your year with Best Practice Journal and we look forward to providing you with your staple of evidence-based, thought-provoking, forward-thinking - some say trail blazing - articles next year. We would like to give a special mention to Dr Peter Moodie, Medical Director of PHARMAC who retires from this role at the end of the year. Peter has provided us with some truly memorable moments and we value and respect his support and input into Best Practice Journal and bpacnz over the years.

Merry Christmas from the bpacnz team

Our offices will be closed from 1 pm, December 24th and re-open at 8.30 am January 6th, 2014.