It’s that time of year again when people begin to make promises to lose weight, begin eating healthier, make better financial decisions, quit a bad habit, go on more vacations, exercise daily, and so on.
The desire for self-improvement is a shared American hobby, which is why so many of us – some estimates say more than 40% of Americans – make New Year’s resolutions, according to Forbes. Only a tiny fraction of us however, keep our resolutions. The University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year's goals. Here are a few ways to make New Year’s resolutions that not only stick but are attainable!
Give January a Break: Poor January! We cram a laundry list of goals into one month and try desperately to make them all happen at lightening speed. Inevitably, by February we are burnt out and by spring, our resolutions are long forgotten. If your goals are worth attaining, they will take time, so let’s give January a break. Spacing them out throughout the year is a much better way to set yourself up for success.
Start Small: Make resolutions that you think you can keep. For example, if your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three days a week instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment. Small steps is the way to go!
Write It Down: Believe it or not, seeing your goals written down in your own handwriting has a powerful effect on your mind. Invest in a planner, calendar or use a postcard to list of your goals for 2018. Keep this on your desk, on your nightstand next to your bed, or any place within your home or office where you can see it and refer to it often.
Change One Behavior at a Time: Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.
Give Yourself Motivation: For a new habit to stick, you need to feel motivated. Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviors can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolution may be. It can also be a great way to remind yourself on how far you have come!
Accept Failure: Chances are, you will start your resolutions off strong, but somewhere down the road you’ll fall off the bandwagon. Perfection is unattainable. Keep in mind that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. When a slipup happens, forgive yourself and start again. You are only human!
Praise Yourself: Give yourself credit for every step forward—no matter how small it may seem. You must become your own best cheerleader!
Overall, setting goals should not feel stressful or like a burden. A resolution should be something you truly want to embrace as a new way of life. In fact, people who achieve their new year’s goals do not commit to change in isolation but rather embrace a lifestyle change. Be realistic on this journey and make sure to follow these tips in order to stay mindful of your goals all year long!