If you're really up to it, chomping down five slices of pizza in one go is easy. Creating a list of New Year's resolutions is even easier.
How about facing the responsibilities that come along with both activities? You're right. It's truly a Herculean effort.
The good news is: it doesn't have to be that way.
Promises People Make During The New Year
If there was some kind of icon for New Year's resolutions like what Santa Claus is to Christmas or the Easter Bunny is to Easter, we're guessing this sentient being's job is to collect all the promises that people make during the New Year and see to it that those who break their resolutions will pay.
But that would be too Draconian, especially for a cheerful holiday.
Unfortunately, even though most of us resolve to better ourselves for the New Year, studies show that about 75 percent stick to their goals for at least one week and only one in 10 people truly achieve the goal in the end.
It is really difficult to keep the enthusiasm burning, but psychologists in the United Kingdom believe it is not impossible to be successful.
Led by Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire, the team of experts followed 5,000 people as they tried to achieve their New Year's resolutions.
After careful evaluation, Wiseman and his team found that those who failed to achieve their goals often did not have a plan, making their resolution seem impossible.
Some of those who failed were also found to focus more on the downside of not achieving their goals, fantasized about their goals, relied on will power alone or looked up to a role model.
"Many of these ideas are frequently recommended by self-help experts," said Wiseman. "But our results suggest that they simply don't work."
How To Create Resolutions That Are Efficient
The key to success is this: if people break down their resolutions into smaller and more specific goals, they're more likely to succeed, researchers said.
Wiseman said many of the successful techniques involve crafting a plan and sticking to it. About 10 percent of the participants they followed achieved their goals by developing a plan and felt a sense of fulfillment because of it.
Dr. Robert Klem of the Swedish Medical Group said that people should focus on the positive when creating resolutions.
"I think we've always tended to say, 'Okay, I'm going to quit this and not do that. I'm going to quit smoking, no more sugar, not going to drink alcohol that much anymore.' I don't think we tend to be as successful with that as opposed to trying to do something more positive for a New Year's resolution," said Klem.
Keeping Those New Year's Resolutions
With what Klem and Wiseman said in mind, here are some tips to help you keep those resolutions you made for a healthier new year:
1. Come up with a fitness regimen, and make your exercise goals more specific. Instead of saying, "I will lose 10 pounds this year," it is more effective if you actually set a time and date for a certain fitness activity. For instance, you could try to join a yoga class, or you could run at a 5k for charity. Klem said specific goals are more concrete and are more action-oriented, compared to general goals that seem too big to achieve.
2. Personalize your resolutions and tailor-fit it to what you really need. Wiseman said your chances of being successful are higher if you know what you need. Channel your energy into something specific that you need to change.
3. Track down your progress and write it down in a journal, or have an app to help you record it. Former U.S. Marine Jason Scott Johnson wrote a book about everyday fitness, and one of his tips is to create a "Win Journal" where one can write all the personal successes for each day. Studies show that writing in a journal can help you stick to your goals and cope with depression. Meanwhile, Klem said wristbands and mobile apps can be beneficial in coordinating with your fitness or health provider.
4. Schedule time for yourself, your family and friends. Klem said having more time for your loved ones can help you look forward to something positive, and it can make you more productive and lessen anxiety. In fact, lack of social bonds can harm you as much as smoking and alcohol abuse does, according to a 2010 study.
At the end of the day, if you believe that achieving your New Year's resolutions doesn't happen overnight, then you're all set. It takes hard work to see real progress.