How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions

Raise your hand if you’ve made the same New Year’s resolution over and over again. I’m guessing that most of you reading this blog have your hands raised! Although they usually have good intentions behind them, learning how to keep New Year’s resolutions can be very difficult.

The most popular New Year’s resolutions are losing weight, quitting smoking, sticking to an exercise program, and better money management. These are all great goals but statistics on New Year’s resolution lists reveal that less than 25% of people actually stick to their goals after just 30 days, and only 8% of people actually accomplish them!

Before you decide not to make a resolution this year, let’s take a look at the mistakes most people make when deciding on a New Year’s Resolution.

1. Following the Latest Fad

Fads come and go and statistics show they are not successful in the long run. People often gravitate towards fads because they promise big results in a short amount of time and usually oversimplify the change process. But fads are hard to stick to, are expensive, and not backed by any scientific evidence. When working to keep your New Year’s resolutions this year, focus on doing it the right way, making a lifestyle change based on sound guidance that you can envision sticking to for many years to come.

2. No Clear Direction

Having a general goal such as, “I want to eat better,” lacks direction on what exactly is going to be done to make healthier choices. Be clear on the direction you are heading with your goals. Are you focusing on cooking more at home? Eating more vegetables? Cutting back on soda? Once you decide what exactly you are going to do then it is time to make a plan for change. Divide bigger goals into smaller goals. Make more specific goals with practical steps that are achievable.  

3. Viewing it as a Race

Be patient when making lifestyle changes. Long-term change takes commitment, encouragement, and time. Stick to your plan and know that small steps add up over time. It may be tempting to try to reach your goal quickly but that may mean going to an extreme and following advice that in will not hold up the long-run.

4. Not Allowing Room for Mistakes

Oftentimes, people throw in the towel on their goals after one misstep. They eat a donut someone brought into work and then because they feel like they’ve failed they ditch their entire New Year’s resolution. This is also known as all-or-nothing thinking. No one is perfect and for long-term success it is best to keep focusing on the big picture. One mistake is not going to ruin your goal; it is all about balance. If you find that you are struggling to stick to your resolution, maybe the plan you made is too restrictive and needs to be revised. 

Hopefully this is the year you can be in the 8% that actually keeps their New Year’s Resolution! Remember: be patient, set a plan, forgive yourself, and know you are worth it!!!

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