Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolution
Welcome to 2015! We’re a week and a half into the New Year. That means some of us are probably still coming down off of that holiday sugar high. Others are realizing they had one too many helpings at the family Christmas meal…and it shows. Then there are those who are looking back on 2014 and realizing they might not have lived up to everything they were hoping for, either personally or professionally. It’s ok! That’s what the new year is all about. It’s a clean slate. And that’s why so many of us decide to make a New Year’s resolution.
In fact, a study from the University of Scranton shows about 45% of us decide to make a New Year’s resolution. That means nearly half of us are hoping to be a better person over the next 365 days. That’s great! But there is just one teeny, tiny bit of bad news to come out of that same study: only about 8% of us actually achieve our goals. Those aren’t the best odds. But if you made a resolution, plan to stick to it and hope to become one of those elite few who hit their goals; there are ways to set yourself up for success.
sticking to your new year’s resolution
So you’ve made a New Year’s resolution. Or maybe you’re still deciding on one (see the infographic below for some ideas). Whatever the case, you plan to stick to those goals no matter what. Well, there are some steps you can take right away and throughout the process to make sure that happens. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Set Specific and Measurable Goals
It’s great to have some lofty goals. Quitting smoking. Finally losing those love handles. Putting an extra couple grand in the rainy day fund. Those are some great things to shoot for, but very hard to measure. When starting off, make sure you set specific goals for yourself. Maybe it’s cutting down to one cigarette a day. Losing five pounds in the first month. Saving an extra $100 a week by eating out less. Those are very measurable goals. In the end they all lead to the same finish line, but this way you can make sure you’re staying on track throughout the process.
Don’t Go Overboard
When charting your course for the next year, be sure not to go overboard with your New Year’s resolution. It’s great that you have big plans and want to change multiple aspects of your life, but doing so all at once can spell disaster. Set one New Year’s resolution goal at a time. You won’t become overwhelmed, it’ll be easier to measure and you’ll be more likely to stick to it. As the American Psychological Association puts it, “Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time.”
Get Others Involved
You’re not in this alone. Sometimes it might feel like it, but that’s rarely the case. Others can help, so be sure to use that resource. In fact, it can be as simple as telling someone else about your New Year’s resolution or goals. The simple fact that others know what you’re trying to achieve can be a great motivator. It’s a lot harder to skip that workout at the gym if you know Jane from work is going to ask you about it tomorrow.
In addition to accountability, you can also become involved in a community of people working toward the same goal as you in order to stay motivated. Whether it’s a few gym buddies or a stop smoking group that meets every Tuesday at the community center, surrounding yourself with like-minded people can really help push you toward your goals. And if you’re having trouble finding a group nearby, don’t forget that thing called the Internet. You can find support groups for almost anything on the web.
Get Help with Tracking
Speaking of technology, as it becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives each year, it’s also becoming better at helping us track or measure just about anything we do. If you know you’re going to have trouble keeping yourself on track, maybe technology can help. Counting calories? There’s an app that estimates calories using your camera phone. Getting active? Consider a tracker like FitBit or Jawbone. Want to set a budget?Mint is a great tool for tracking everything from income to investments to how much you spend a week on coffee. Just do a quick search and I’m sure you can find something to help achieve that New Year’s resolution. To get you started, Mental Floss has a great article with suggestions on tackling some of the most common resolutions.
You’ve probably heard that famous English proverb referenced so often in pop culture, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Well, it’s true! You’ve been working on your goals for a few weeks and you’ve made some real progress. So why not take a moment to step back and reward yourself for your accomplishments? You’re doing great and feel amazing, so treat yourself to dessert, a movie or that book you’ve been thinking about buying. Whatever it is, if you have something to look forward to, you’re more likely to stick to your goals and feel better about doing so.
Don’t Get Discouraged
There is one person in your life, who more than anyone else, can ruin all your hard work and send you spinning off track: yourself. You are probably your biggest enemy in all this. Don’t be! So you missed your goal of losing 10 pounds by March. You didn’t save quite as much as you wanted to last week because you had to buy a present for your nephew. You went a week without stepping on the treadmill. It’s OK! There are 365 days in the year and there’s no reason you can’t get right back on track. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Use it as motivation to continue. According to an article from USA Today, 70% of people who have succeeded at accomplishing their goals said they used their first slip to strengthen their motivation. You can too.
This is far from an exhaustive list of ways to stick to your New Year’s resolution, but it can certainly be a great starting point. What it really comes down to is making sure you set realistic and attainable goals, use your resources to keep yourself on track and not let your head get in the way or your progress. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but with the right mindset, you can make sure you’re among that elite 8% who end their 2015 a better, happier, healthier person.
So in the interest of practicing what you preach, I wanted to end by quickly sharing my resolutions for the year. I’ve set out to stick to a stricter workout routine and exercise at least 5 days a week with an eventual goal of participating in a 5k (a first for me). So far, so good.
So what about you? Have you made a New Year’s resolution? What is it? Be sure to check out the infographic below for some ideas. And if there’s anything I can do to help, you know how to reach me! Good luck!