The New Year is HERE! It’s that time that so many of us use to take stock and examine ways we can improve our quality of life, our health, our habits, and relationships for the year to come. New Year’s Resolutions can be so helpful because they force us to look at things we are not happy with, and take steps to change them. It’s a bonus to know that so many others are also doing the same thing, at the same time—hopefully giving us a little extra motivation, not to mention a feeling of camaraderie. And the New Year is an ideal time to start fresh with a new routine.
With all this going for us, then, why is keeping our resolutions so hard?
According to Statistic Brain, only 8% of people actually keep their resolutions, and many won’t even make it through the end of January before abandoning them. This is discouraging, but don’t let it change your mind about setting goals for the New Year. Instead, let it influence HOW you go about making your resolutions for the greatest chance of success. Keep reading for 5 tips for making your resolutions work for you in 2017.
Pick Your Battles. Focus on what is going to bring you the most happiness, satisfaction, health, etc, in the coming months. You have a limited amount of time to work with, so be realistic with yourself. While you may truly want to write that novel, lose 20 pounds, exercise 5 days a week, spend more time with family and friends (not a great resolution as stated anyway—see #3), and give up your 2-pack a day gummy bear habit, taking on all of these changes at one time is a sure recipe for discouragement…and failure. Pick one or two and dedicate your efforts to them. Once they are established as routine, you can always add another one in the middle of the year if you’re still feeling like a resolution-achieving powerhouse!
Set Actionable Goals and Milestones. Don’t just say “run a 5k in 2017.” Detail how you are going to get there. Are you in marathon-shape already? If not, choose the exercise regimen that’s going to get you there. If the marathon you are aiming for takes place in October, where do you need to be in March to get there? What about June? Setting milestones you need to achieve along the way will keep you motivated, focused, and on track to achieving your goals. And once you hit those milestones, consider rewarding yourself with new workout wear or a movie date—something to acknowledge your progress and keep you excited about the journey you’re on.
Be specific. As mentioned above, setting a resolution like “spend more time with family and friends” is not necessarily going to help you reach your goal. Why? It’s not specific, and it doesn’t clearly reflect what you want. If you only saw your best group of girlfriends once in 2016, seeing them twice will satisfy the resolution as stated. But will seeing them only twice really achieve what you wanted when you wrote that resolution down? Instead, try setting a goal to meet with your girlfriends once a week for lunch, or hosting Sunday night dinners for family members every other month. The more specific you are, the more you can hold yourself accountable, and (hopefully) the better satisfied you will be with the outcome when December rolls around.
Be true to yourself. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool introvert, setting a resolution to be more outgoing and attend more parties may not bring you the happiness that you think it will. Being more social if you’re feeling lonely is a great resolution, but be honest with yourself about what you’re capable of. If you’re someone who gets your energy from being around people all the time, setting a goal to read 75 books will only serve to isolate you. Weigh your goals against what you’ll have to give up to achieve them to find a workable balance that you’re more likely to live with.
Find a Resolution Buddy. When it comes to that 60-minute hot yoga class, don’t forget misery loves company! Seriously, everything is easier—and more fun—with a friend to share it with. Finding a resolution buddy who is committed to the same goal as you are can help you both stay motivated. You can take turns cheerleading when the scales won’t budge or when it’s raining outside and you’d really like to stay curled up by the fire instead of taking that hike. And it’s a great way to multi-task—expanding your friendships while achieving your goals!
We especially like the healthy lifestyle resolutions here at SSA because it’s always a good time to be kind to the only body you’ll ever have. Check out some previous articles on healthy living here and here. And be sure to visit the blog in the coming weeks, as we promote heart health for Go Red for Women!