The new year is approaching, and for many of us, it means New Year's resolutions. Millions of people make plans for the new year every year. A study by Scranton University showed that only 8% of people actually stick to their New Year's resolutions.
So how do this 8% of people manage to stick to their new year's resolutions?
Here are a few things to bear in mind when you make and plan to achieve your goals.
1. Be realistic
Setting realistic and achievable goals is one method to stay on track with your aims. You'll just set yourself up for failure if you create goals that aren't attainable. Consider how many of your prior goals you were able to accomplish. By this, you'll be able to plan ahead.
2. Don’t be vague
Be very specific about your resolution. Remember it's not a one-time thing, you have to stick to it for the whole year. Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying ‘I want to lose weight.’ You need to have a goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval?
For instance- 10 pounds in the next three months — that’s going to be more effective.
People who stick to their resolutions are more likely to set smaller, more detailed, and realistic micro-goals. If one of your New Year's resolutions is to eat healthier, one micro-goal you may set for yourself is to start blending fruit and vegetable smoothies for breakfast every day.
3. Start now
Try to think about your new year’s resolution well in advance. Don’t make vague resolutions on new year’s eve. You can start by writing down your goal, making a list of things you might do to achieve that goal, and noting any obstacles that might stand in your way. By knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and the difficulties you might face, you'll be better prepared to stick to your resolution and overcome anything that might sidetrack you. If you start working toward a goal without any type of plan in place, you may quickly find yourself giving up when faced with any sort of obstacle, setback, or resistance. Therefore, Start now!
This is one of the most important steps. Commit yourself to the goal. Make yourself accountable through a written or verbal promise to people you don't want to let down. That will encourage you to slog through tough spots. Hold yourself accountable, or better yet, tell someone else to hold you accountable, to make it more difficult to revert to negative behaviours. Tell as many people as you feel comfortable about your resolutions, and urge them to check in with you on a regular basis for updates. Knowing that someone might ask you about your progress and that you'll feel forced to give an honest answer may be enough to motivate you to keep to your new ambitions.
5. Reward yourself
Small rewards along the way can help generate a sense of accomplishment. This does not mean that if you want to lose weight or eat healthier, you can eat a whole box of chocolates. Instead, celebrate success with something pleasant that does not contradict the resolution. For example, after sticking to the promise of eating better, maybe the reward might be to go to the movies with friends.
6. Don’t overdo it- take baby steps
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and excitement of a new year and lose sight of why you set resolutions in the first place. It's good to be enthusiastic about your goal and most of us get really enthusiastic in the beginning and then by the end of the first few months we give up. The same goes with perfectionism, we try to do everything perfectly and then when we mess up we lose hope and give up. One of the very important steps to keep up with your goals is to be consistent and not beat yourself up to it. Try to only do as much as you can in a day, don't overdo it, otherwise, you'd just end up feeling overwhelmed.
7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes- DO NOT GIVE UP
Learn from your mistakes. Mistakes are part of the process. But too often people think one mistake means they're destined to fail. When you make a mistake--like you skip the gym for a week--learn from your misstep. In fact, one study showed that people who were successful in maintaining their resolutions tended to slip up at least 14 times. The vast majority of these successful individuals said they'd found ways to turn their mistakes into opportunities to grow stronger and become better.
8. Positive affirmations
Know that many a time you might feel demotivated you may choose to use positive affirmations to motivate yourself, encourage positive changes in your life, or boost your self-esteem. If you frequently find yourself getting caught up in negative self-talk, positive affirmations can be used to combat these often subconscious patterns and replace them with more adaptive narratives.