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How many keep New Year's resolutions? More than you think

Posted at 5:11 PM, Dec 19, 2014

Making a New Year’s resolution stick is difficult.

But fulfilling a resolution is not impossible — far from it said John C. Norcross, the author of acclaimed self-help book “Changeology.”

Norcross has written more than 300 publications and studied New Year’s resolutions for decades.

“People are far more successful at New Year’s resolutions than anyone would predict,” Norcross said. “There’s a lot of pessimistic nonsense out there.”

Norcross said 40 percent of New Year’s resolvers succeed.

“This is huge,” he said. “This is the biggest single opportunity to improve your life on the year. I certainly understand people dismiss it.”

But making improvements through New Year’s resolutions takes work, he said. In “Changeology”, Norcross writes about five stages for successful change.

The steps include:

  • Psych: Knowing where you want to do
  • Prep: Setting actual goals
  • Perspire: Modifying behavior and environment
  • Persevere: Manage slips by forgiving yourself but moving on quickly
  • Persist: Maintain the change with the help of constant adjustment and attention

Norcross said willpower alone more often than not will not satiate a resolution.

“Willpower is a powerful too, but people who rely on it too much fail at a higher rate,” he said.

For the change to truly take hold, Norcross said people need to follow through for 90 days.

“My publisher and everyone else tried to convince me to go shorter, but science is science,” he said. “It’s not a dash. It’s a marathon.”