January 1st, "New Year New You".... "This is the year I will/wont"..... (fill in the blank). Sound familiar?
Each year approximately 50% of the population make New Years resolutions. Some of the most popular include:
- Losing weight
- Going to the gym
- Quitting smoking
- Improving money management
- Finding love
- Getting a new job
Researchers have looked at success rates of peoples' resolutions: the first two weeks usually go smoothly, but by February, people are backsliding and by the following December, most people are back where they started, often even further behind. Why do so many people not keep their resolutions?
Often times, resolutions are significantly unrealistic. They may be too big a change or much too broad. Another common reason for failed resolutions falls in the "cause and effect" relationship, meaning you may think that by losing weight or getting a new job your entire life will change and if there is not a quick significant change you may feel discouraged and fall back into old behaviors.
So what can you do to be successful in 2018?
Here are some tips to help you stick to your goals this year:
1. Prioritize, focus on a few resolutions rather than many. This will allow you to give enough time and energy to each individual goal.
2. Set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal. Losing 10 pounds in 90 days would be. Always make sure that you are able to measure your progress in some way.
3. Many people quit because the goal is too big requiring too big a step all at once. Take small steps and track your progress! A great way to do this is by setting up a journal, whether that means adding to the notes in your phone or having a hard copy on hand. Small daily notes will keep you present during your journey. Create checkpoints and celebrate your success between milestones. Don't wait for the goal to be completed.
4. Create a vision board, post your goals to your fridge, or write your checkpoints on your calendar. When keeping your goals in plain sight it will be much harder to go off track.
5. Hold yourself accountable!!! Tell people, have someone close to you that you have to report to or that will partake in the resolution with you. Acknowledge that you may need help. Working with a trainer, a financial adviser, etc can be what finally gets you to where you need to be.
6. Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits, so take it day by day and focus on each choice as it comes.