1 in 5 people set a new year’s resolution to lose weight! This is closely followed by getting out of debt. 52% are confident they can keep their resolutions. Only 12% make it.

This is according to a study by Psychologist Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire.

So why do we do it?

Historians tell us the practice dates to antiquity where promises are made to deities in return for favours. Psychologists tell us the practice is therapeutic by putting behind failures of the past and creating hope for a better future by aspiring to self-improvement. Most do so out of tradition.

Regardless, this tradition certainly has a long history.

From an emotional intelligence perspective, hoping for a better future is driven by Optimism. Recognising our present short-comings for a mark of Reality Testing. Setting a goal to improve is derivative of Self-Actualisation.

BUT making AND sticking to a resolution is a function of Impulse Control.

Impulse Control is defined as the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive, or temptation to act. It involves avoiding rash behaviors and impetuous decision-making.

And let’s be honest, most resolutions are spur-of-the-moment, less-than-thought-through decisions. And that’s why they fail before January is complete.

But what about the 12%? How do they succeed where most have not? Are they super-disciplined types who will themselves to success? Here are 5 tips to add you to elite percentage of resolution-keeping individuals:

  1. Set ONE. Eg “Lose weight.”
  2. Make it quantifiable. Eg “Lose 5kg by end of June.”
  3. Write a statement of why this resolution is important to you. Eg “I want to wear that swimsuit on holiday in July.”
  4. Tell friends (and enemies) about it. Friends will support you to success while enemies will spite you to success.
  5. Set sub-goals and reward yourself incrementally. Eg “Pamper yourself with a spa treatment for every kg lost.”