AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

December 21, 2018

Specific Goals Are Key to Successful New Year's Resolutions

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — About 50 percent of all American's resolve to make some change or improvement when a new year begins.

The most common New Year's resolution is to lose weight while the second most common is to pay down or get out of debt.

According to research studies, people who set a specific goal (I will walk 30 minutes most days) have a much better chance at being successful than people who set a more general goal (I'm going to get in shape.)


"People who make one or two changes at a time are also more likely to be successful than those who try to change everything all at once," said according to David Burton, civic communication specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Research shows it may take as little as 21 days to establish a new habit, but it can take much longer to make sure a person will sustain that new habit. The key is making two or three small changes and sticking to them.

Small change number one: pay attention to the calories in your drinks. According to a Tuft's University publication, Americans get 21 percent of their daily calories from what they drink.

Small change number two: fill up on a variety of fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories and are packed with disease-fighting nutrients.

Small change number three: be physically active. Exercise can help burn calories and contribute to an overall feeling of well-being. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.


Financial resolutions are easier to keep if no drastic lifestyle changes are made according to Burton.

"A good place to begin is to set some goals related to saving," said Burton.

Burton suggests starting by preparing for the unexpected. What happens if you get sick or injured and can not work for a few months? Or the refrigerator stops working and needs to be replaced?

"It is recommended that we have three to six months of living expenses in an emergency savings fund. Trying to reach that amount may seem overwhelming, and may be a major reason many people don't have an emergency fund. However, it can be doable if you save a little every day or every week," said Burton.

For example, by setting aside just one dollar each day, a person will have $365 in a year. While that is not enough to meet the guidelines in one year, it is a great start.

Here are a few other ideas to consider. Are there some habits you could give up or reduce? Could you save at least a portion of your income tax refund? Are there ways you could bring in additional income, or reduce some expenses? Could you make your savings automatic by having money withheld from each paycheck?

"Planned savings is the key to long-term financial success," said Burton.


Agronomy specialists with University of Missouri Extension have several resolutions they are recommending for area farmers in 2018.

The top suggestions include: soil test fields before applying lime or fertilizer in order to save money; cut fescue hay by mid-May instead of mid-June to maximize forage nutrient content; shut off running farm equipment before working on it; tag cows and calves and record birth dates of calves; and rotate cattle in pastures at least once a week.


More information on this topic is available online at

Source: David Burton, (417) 881-8909, (417) 874-2954

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