One in four people will not make it a week with their New Year’s resolution. Here are seven things not to do when creating a New Year’s resolution that will help you go the distance:
1. Don’t keep it to yourself.
“I don’t want my friends to know I am trying to quit my bad habit.” Let others know! This gives you leverage and allows others to encourage you along your journey.
2. Don’t leave it in your head.
“I don’t need to write it down, I know what I want to do.” Research has shown that those who
write down their goals and track them have an increased chance of success.
3. Don’t be vague.
“I’m going to lose weight”. How much? At what rate? By when? Make your goals SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely and time bound.
4. Don’t be inflexible.
“I’m not going to ever do that again” Not all goals happen with the flip of a switch. Sometimes you need to wean yourself off of a bad habit. Sometimes you will backslide or slip up. It’s part of life. Get used to it and get used to being more successful for the long haul by recognizing that people try and try again at their goals before they reach them. Some reports suggest an average of 14 times. Persistence not perfectionism pays.
5. Don’t be unrealistic or harsh.
“I’m not going to eat any sweets.” “I will exercise 2 hours everyday.” It is not always realistic to deny yourself. Life is meant to be celebrated. Think moderation and think about small incremental steps that will advance you toward your goal. It is better to be doing a smaller action for the long term than a larger goal that doesn’t have a chance of lasting a week.
6. Don’t take on too much at once.
“I’m going to quit smoking, join a gym, meditate 10 minutes every day, lose 20 lbs, and spend more time with my kids.” This is just setting yourself up for disappointment. Focus on a couple of things and the activities that will take you towards your goals.
7. Don’t take the first step TODAY.
“I’ll start next week…” There always seems to be a better time than right now. You may think you need to wait until after a special date or occasion, or once the holidays are over or start on a Monday...the list goes on. The truth is now is always a good time. Start by visualizing where you want to be and eliminating negative self-talk that will keep you from reaching your goals.