There’s no getting around it: Every new year brings about new desires to improve or add to your life. Perhaps it’s to work out more, spend more time connecting with friends, family or nature, or learn a new skill or hobby. Don’t set yourself up to fail! Research suggests half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% achieve their goals. Follow these professional recommendations for setting your resolutions and sticking to them!
These 7 tips are excerpted from, A Psychologist’s Secrets To Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick, published in Forbes online magazine, January 3, 2016.
1. Clearly define your goals. If you want to “get in shape,” define what that means. Is it to run 2 miles without stopping, or lose a certain number of pounds? The first step to behavior change is to clearly understand what “it” is.
2. Track your progress. “If you can measure it, you can change it” is a fundamental principal of psychology. These measurements will be a source of motivation as you reflect on where you started and where you are.
3. Have patience. Set realistic goes and be aware that progress is not simply linear. Some people will see rapid gains only to hit resistance later in their efforts. For others, initial progress may be painfully slow but then they suddenly achieve rapid breakthroughs. Making lasting changes takes time.
4. Publicize your goals to friends and family. Don’t be embarrassed to announce your goals to friends and family – social support is critical. It does take courage and being vulnerable to make public something you may fail at, but your chances of success increase dramatically with the support of those around you.
5. Put it on your schedule. No one “finds time.” You have to make time for the things that matter to you.
6. Stop “all or nothing” thinking; it’s better to do something than nothing. The bottom line is, any effort towards your goal is better than no effort.
7. Get up, when you slip up. As the great Vince Lombardi said, “It isn’t whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” Nobody’s perfect and resiliency is the key. If you slip up, acknowledge your mistake and recommit to your path.
Remembering these key points should help to encourage and motivate you. With the right attitude and good intentions that spur us to make resolutions in the first place, you can plan on achieving your goals in 2018!