Ah, the first week of a brand new year. Everything feels fresh and full of high hopes, opportunity, and excitement at what one can accomplish over the next twelve months. The vast majority of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but astonishingly, only around eight percent of us keep them.
There are a plethora of reasons why our good intentions go awry (sometimes after only a few days!). People set grandiose goals that are virtually impossible to achieve. Or, they get frustrated with a lack of instant success. Then, life happens and they fall back into old routines, despite their best efforts.
Instead of focusing on the negative and why resolutions fail, here are some tips to help stay on track and have 2017 be the year that those resolutions stick!
• Set realistic goals. This may seem obvious, but setting goals that you can actually reach is the key to success. If you want to save $10,000 this year but that is not possible with your current financial situation, look at what you can save each month and total that up, making that sum your goal.
• Break up large goals into smaller ones. For example, if the goal is to lose 20 pounds, instead of focusing on that big number, break it up into smaller increments with specific deadlines. Saying, “I will lose two pounds per week,” is a much better way to set yourself up for success. Then, when you lose those first two pounds, you will feel a sense of achievement and be motivated to continue into the next week.
• Changing habits is overwhelming for anyone. If you’re attempting to do something that is outside of your normal realm, it helps to write down positive reinforcement statements and to review them when you wake up each morning. This will help re-train your brain and put you in the mindset of accepting this new way of life.
• Choose goals that will fit into your lifestyle and reward yourself along the way. If you’ve never run a mile and your resolution is to run a marathon this year, start by taking a walk. Figure out what time of day you can fit in 15 minutes, and begin there. After you’ve walked your first mile, reward yourself with a new pair of sneakers. When you can jog that mile, get a new set of headphones or workout t-shirt. These rewards will be visual, tangible reminders of what you have achieved and will continue to motivate you to reach the next milestone.
Here’s to a successful 2017 and to keeping those resolutions!