7 Tips for a Successful New Year's Resolution
Have you been thinking about setting a resolution on January 1st? New Year's Resolutions are something most of us consider and half of us do. Keep reading to learn more about what people want to change in their lives and how to make that happen!
Rank Top New Years resolutions for 2017
Lose Weight / Healthier Eating 21.4%
Life / Self Improvements 12.3%
Better Financial Decisions 8.5%
Quit Smoking 7.1%
Do more exciting things 6.3%
Spend More Time with Family / Friends 6.2%
Work out more often 5.5%
Learn something new on my own 5.3%
Do more good deeds for others 5.2%
Find the love of my life 4.3
Find a better job 4.1%
Percent of Americans who succeed with resolutions 41 %
Percent of people who have some success in achieving their Resolution 48.4 %
Percent who do not meet their New Year's goal 42.4 %
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions
So what leads to so many broken resolutions? The biggest reason people fail to make changes is that they set unrealistic expectations. People imagine that they can overhaul themselves, underestimate the time and effort it takes to make changes, or feel discouraged with set backs.
Here are some tips that will help you succeed with your New Year's Resolutions.
1. Pick one resolution.
I know you may have lots of things you want to change, and it may be tough to decide. But you have to start somewhere, and you need to focus on just making one change. Once you get that one under your belt, you can work on another. I can't stress how important this is. You need to learn how to walk well before you can learn to cross a slack line. If you can't decide, write them on slips of paper and draw your 2018 change out of a hat!
2. Make your goal as specific as possible.
If your goal is to lose weight, how do you know when you've succeeded? Does losing 3/4lb count? 100lbs? Make your goal clear and measurable.
I will lose 10 lbs in 2018.
I will work with a financial coach for 1 month to create my retirement plan.
I will call friends or family members twice per week.
3. Make your goal reasonable and attainable.
Making big changes may be something you desire, but you are more likely to fail if you set your goals too high. Remember, once you hit a goal, you can build on it until you hit the change you really wanted!
Instead of "I will save enough for a down payment on a house this year," try "I will save $5000 this year."
4. Make a Change Map and use each mile marker as a chance to assess your progress and make adjustments as needed.
Think of yourself as a curious scientist gathering data on an experiment. If you aren't reaching your goals, what can you do to adjust? If you've hit your goal, is this a good time to work on maintenance or build more. Also, although pop science says it takes only 21 days to make a change, this is just not accurate. The average is actually 18 -254 days! With such a wide range, there's no way to guarantee the timeline you need for a change. Have fun with your goal and be flexible.
5. Protect your goal against yourself.
Notice your thoughts, feelings, and actions that may get in the way of this change. Write them down and problem-solve them beforehand.
If you know that you are likely to skip your workout when you get tired, get an exercise buddy. It'll help you be accountable.
If you know that you manage boredom or other challenging emotions with food, fill your house with healthier options so that there will be less impact on your weight loss goal.
If your impulse buying gets in the way of saving, have money automatically deducted and transfers to savings straight from your paycheck.
6. Leave room for set backs.
Change is not linear and setbacks do not mean failure. No one would ever say that a kid has failed at walking when they trip and fall. Why would you say you've failed at your exercise goal when you skipped a few workouts? Each setback is a goldmine. You can learn what lead to the set back (eg, I went on a business trip and wasn't sure how to exercise without my bike) and use it for future planning (eg, on my next business trip, I'll use an exercise app in my room in the morning). Not only that, but you get a chance to practice being kind to yourself. Most of us struggle with this, and it really takes a toll. Instead of giving up or thinking unkind things, try reminding yourself that setbacks are a normal part of change, and they will help you better adapt and reach your goal if you take time to learn from them. Also, you can always start again. You do not have to wait until January 1. You can start now. Or now. Or Now.
7. Ask for help.
If you get stuck, look for resources online. Find a self-help book. Talk to a trusted friend or therapist. You don't have to make changes alone.