Do you remember what your New Year’s Resolution was last year?
If you’re like most people, probably not. You likely started out strong that first week of January, then as life went on you slowly fell off track and eventually forgot all about what you hoped to accomplish.
Until the next January first rolled around.
Say what you will about them, I personally love New Year’s Resolutions! Each December I take some time to sit down and write out what I want to achieve in the upcoming year. It’s always fun to look back and see how many of my goals I accomplished the previous year, too.
If done wisely, resolutions can be great motivators and can even bring about lasting, positive change. (In fact, it was a New Year’s Resolution in 2006 that started my health and fitness journey that eventually led me to becoming a Personal Trainer!)
Statistically, however, most Resolutions end up abandoned or forgotten by February. How can you avoid being one of the many who start with good intentions, only to give up when things get hard?
1. Attitude is everything. For starters, mentally frame your goal in a positive light. Think of it as something you want to do, not something you have to do. Focus on adopting new, better habits rather than giving up or ending poor habits.
2. Make it measurable. If your goal is to eat healthier, resolve to eat 3 servings of vegetables a day. That way you can clearly evaluate whether or not you are reaching your goal.
3. Give your goal a deadline. Ideally, your resolution will stick and last forever, but sometimes “forever” can be overwhelming when you’re just starting out. Set a time period for reaching your goal (such as a month or five weeks) to help keep yourself on track.
4. Be realistic. Going for too large a goal is setting yourself up for failure. Baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Instead of resolving to lose 30 pounds this year, aim to lose 2 pounds by the end of January.
5. Stay accountable. Team up with a friend or family member. Tell as many people as you can what you’re going to do. The more people there are to hold you to it, the more driven you will be to succeed.
Finally, don’t torture yourself. You very likely will have slip-ups. You may get off track after a week or ten days. If and when that happens, rather than throwing in the towel, refocus and start fresh. Nobody is perfect. Bad days are no excuse for giving up altogether.