Only 8% of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions! Use these tips to keep yourself on track this year.
1. Be reasonable.
Sometimes ideas that seem like minor adjustments, like changing your diet and exercise habits or getting more organized, can be more life-altering than you think. According to social scientist and Stanford University behavior researcher B.J. Fogg, PhD, taking baby steps is the most effective way to create long-lasting change. It’s more about creating small changes in your already existing routine than setting drastic, unreasonable goals.
2. Be specific.
Setting goals like “losing weight” or “eating healthier” can be a little too vague to really hold yourself accountable for. Instead, create measurable goals, whether that’s a goal weight by a specific date or following a particular diet. Maybe your goal is to be more organized, or to decrease stress. If so, set aside a specific amount of time to devote to your goal. Give yourself ten extra minutes every morning to feel less rushed (remember—we’re starting small), or one hour a week devoted to a relaxing activity like yoga, for example.
3. Create a plan.
Once you have your resolution scaled to reasonable, specific steps, create an action plan that puts them into place. Is it a shopping list? An exercise schedule? Making a to-do list? Whatever your goal is, don’t just wing it—create a roadmap to help you get there.
4. Get support.
Willpower is certainly important, but sometimes it’s not enough. Between managing work, a family, and a household (i.e., your life), making changes may require some flexibility from others who are a part of your routine. Telling your family and friends “I need your support” is the first step in actually gaining their support. Also, when making significant health changes like quitting smoking, dieting, or exercising, seeking the advice of your doctor or other professionals is a great idea.
5. Try, try again.
Finally, if you falter or even fail to stick to your resolution, remember that you’re not the first person in history to do so. As the old saying goes, “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again.” Just don’t wait until next January! Try now.