“New year, new you” is a catchphrase many people adopt at the beginning of the year. The first day of January seems like the perfect time to start fresh, a chance to “get things right.” Unfortunately, research shows that less than half of those who make resolutions keep them more than six months into the year. Beat the odds this year with the following eight tips to stay focused and successful with New Year’s resolutions.
Set realistic and specific goals
Rather than “lose weight” or “get in shape,” make goals more concrete and measurable. Losing 10 pounds a month or going to the gym three days a week is less ambiguous. Don’t make goals too lofty or difficult. Think of goals as long-term projects that you can make smaller progress in to keep you motivated.
Stick to one resolution
Focusing on one important resolution ensures greater success than picking a number of different objectives. Achieving one small goal will boost confidence and lead to long-term success. Set new goals later as you accomplish your initial ones.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Don’t wait until December 31 to decide on goals. Spend time thinking about behaviors to change and write them down. Take stock of areas in your life that you’d like to change and new habits you want to form.
Spend time planning
Make a detailed plan for each goal and a list of ways to help achieve them. Include strategies to help avoid obstacles that might interfere with success.
Begin with small steps
Radically altering behavior too quickly is sure to result in failure. Slower starts make change easier. For example, instead of resolving to eat healthier, begin by replacing a few favorite junk foods with more nutritious snacks.
Avoid repeating past failures
One strategy for success is to avoid making resolutions that haven’t worked in the past. Past failures lead to low self-confidence. At the least, write down what went wrong and set strategies to help lead to success.
Realize that change is a process
Bad habits usually form over years. Once committing to change, realizing that it may take more than days or weeks to achieve goals will relieve some pressure. Understand that setbacks will happen. Track progress with a resolution journal. Think of relapse as an opportunity to learn from mistakes.
Get support from your friends and family
It’s been proven that the buddy system works. Find a friend or family member to help stay on track. It’s even better if they are working on the same goal.