Make your resolutions stick this year.
About half of Americans say that making New Year's resolutions is one of their yearly traditions, but according to the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of resolution-makers actually reach their goals. What seemed like a priority in January is often a forgotten idea by February. What's the difference between those who make resolutions and those who actually keep them? You've probably heard of tips like writing down goals or buddying up, but there are some more creative ways you can stick to your resolution this year. Try these out-of-the-box tips to turn your resolutions into daily habits.
Not everyone's finish line looks the same. What you consider a disappointment might look a lot like someone else's achievement. That's why it's important to clearly define your goals. Give yourself both a success metric and a timeline to help you stick with your goals. Instead of simply deciding you want to "lose weight," aim to "reduce your body weight by 5 percent by March." This gives you something concrete to work toward and a way to truly measure success, rather than just an ambiguous idea.
If you've made New Year's resolutions, make sure that you share your goals with your family or friends. Getting off the couch to walk a mile each day will be easier with a friend holding you accountable. Try publicizing your goal and encouraging your friends to check in often while offering them the same in exchange. Making your resolutions public may mean that you're more likely to stick with them. You can also try joining a support group, especially if your goals are very personal and you don't feel comfortable sharing your progress with those close to you.
Too often resolutions are made in response to something you might not like about yourself. This can create a negative feeling about something that's meant to improve your life. Reframe the way you think about your goal to be more positive. Getting out of debt could be viewed as attaining financial freedom. Losing weight could be reframed as getting stronger to spend more time with your grandkids. When you paint your goals with a more positive brush, you increase your motivation and the likelihood of success.
When only perfection will do, it's easier to get discouraged by your resolutions. If you feel like your motivation and results must be 100 percent to qualify as success, just one off day can feel like failure. Banish the "all or nothing" mindset and focus on acknowledging progress. If you forget to go to the gym, take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Maybe you fell off the wagon and ate poorly one day, but don't let it derail you completely. Review your progress and resolve to do better tomorrow.
Don't overwhelm yourself by demanding a total lifestyle overhaul after the first of January. Focus on just one important goal at a time and you'll probably notice ripple effects through the rest of your life. Trying to change all of your habits at once can feel daunting—choose bite-sized, measurable goals that will add up over time.
Making New Year's resolutions might be a time-honored tradition, but breaking them doesn't have to be. Stop the cycle by thinking of your goals a little differently this year. By taking control of your habits and making small but steady changes, you'll position yourself for the best year ever.
By Jae Curtis
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.