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New Study Reveals How Long New Year's Resolutions Usually Last

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We're days away from Valentine's Day and a new study says more than a third of people have already traded in their New Year's resolutions for a big box of chocolates.

According to data from the Nielsen analytics firm, losing weight was number one on a list of 2015's top resolutions. Joined by finding love and saving more money, the list showed what most Americans were hoping to work on.

This begs the question, how long do these New Year's goals really last?

Referring to the statistics, only 64 percent last longer than the first month, and only 46 percent last longer than six months. Even more discouraging is the statistic that only 14 percent of people over 50 actually achieve their resolution compared to 39 percent of people in their 20's.

So, how do you defy the odds?

CBS spoke with the spokesperson for Gold's Gym in New York. Their theory called the "fitness cliff" explained why many people fall off the fitness bandwagon.

Gold's Gym offered up a memorable list of warning signs that your health goals are at risk:

C - Can't find the time.

L - Lacking a game plan to keep you going.

I - Ignoring your commitment and falling into old patterns.

F - Frustrated with lack of early results.

F - Forgetting why you started.

But fear not, fitness experts and psychologists have listed some ways that will help you stay motivated and on top of your goals.

Step 1: Admit you need help, and ask for it

Dr. Paul Marciano, a behavioral psychologist, told CBS that any people get discouraged when they don't know how to move forward with their goal.

Admit you need help," he told CBS News." People who say, 'I can do it on my own - I know what to do,' are more likely to fail than those who say, 'I need support.' "

He also said it's important to take learning in stride. "The more education you get, the better your plan, the more clear your goals, and more likely you are to succeed," he said.

Step 2: Start with baby steps

Marciano says many people set goals and have unrealistic expectations. Because of this, many people become frustrated and give up when they don't see early results.

"Setting incremental steps for change is critical," Marciano told CBS News. "Start slowly, be successful and move on. Training for a marathon is an excellent example and should be applied to most other behavior change efforts."

Step 3: Make it part of your everyday routine

Dr. Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University, says another reason resolutions fail in the long run is because people don't maintain their efforts after results are seen. He suggests making a permanent change in your lifestyle to see permanent changes.

Step 4: Keep track of your progress

Keeping track of your progress is helpful because it lets you know how far you've come. Keeping track shows that your hard work has been paying off and it also helps you measure yourself against yourself instead of others, which offsets unrealistic personal expectations.


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