Every year, nearly half the population makes a New Year’s Resolution that they promise to begin at Midnight, January 1st.
By the end of the first week, nearly 77% of people are going strong and maintaining their resolution.
But only two to three weeks into the new year, over half of those individuals have already given up on their New Year’s resolution. By the end of February, 80% have failed in keeping their new goals. In fact, only 8% of the population who make resolutions actually incorporate these goals long term.
Why is there such a huge failure rate? What is the difference between those lucky few who succeed and the rest of us who don’t? Is it actually luck?
Most of us make resolutions that are too general. “I want to lose weight,” or “I want get healthy.” These goals are too generic and hard to follow through. How much weight do you want to lose? How do you want to go about getting healthy? Eating better, exercising more? Giving up something you do that’s unhealthy?
Make your goals specific. “I want to quit smoking.” Don’t forget to include a reasonable timeline for accomplishing your goal and making a solid plan to get there.
Have you ever tried quitting something for someone else? Your heart wasn’t into it, but you knew that you should? It hardly ever works unless you are truly motivated to pleasing someone else. When it gets difficult to keep going, you need a factor to keep you motivated.
Make sure your resolution has a personal meaning to you. One you’re willing to fight for.
“I’ll stop eating processed sugar,” or “I’ll stop spending money, or “I won’t watch television.
These are all negatively worded goals and will cause you to focus on what you don’t want to do instead of inspiring you to keep the resolution.
Instead of thinking “I’ll stop eating processed sugar”, think “I’ll eat more fruits and vegetables.” This will help you to think more positively and help you keep your goal.
You know you need to lose weight, but why do you want to lose weight? Is it so you’ll look better? You’ll be healthier? Or maybe you want to lose 15 pounds so you can fit into that little black dress you bought for your 20th class reunion?
Your “why” needs to be powerful and something that will motivate you to keep your new resolution. It might be that you’ve just been diagnosed with a health issue and you want to improve your overall health and avoid taking medication.
Your “why” can be big or small, but the meaning needs to be important to you.
Just because you make your resolution on December 31st, doesn’t mean that is has to begin on January 1st.
Suppose you want to start an exercise program. Instead of spending money on a gym membership or buying expensive equipment you might not use, start with something small. Go on a walk with a friend every day at lunch. Commit to using the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Once you see small successes, you might be ready for the next level of commitment.
You’ve made a solid plan for this year’s resolution and started working on your goals, and guess what? It’s not working. You haven’t lost any weight yet or noticed the inches peeling away, and you’re getting frustrated. Should you give up? This is when your motivation and your "why" will become super important.
But you have to give yourself some time. It’s taken years to develop bad habits or get to where you are today. You can’t expect immediate results.
Break your goal into smaller steps and look for tiny successes. Progress will come if you stick with it.
The new year is already here. Maybe you’ve already begun working on your goals, or maybe you’ve already given up. Revisit your goals, break them up into attainable ones. Make your plan for success. You can do this!
It’s a new year. Get ready for your new you.
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