by Lindsay Rose
Ah, New Year’s! That time of year when we resolve to make that big change in our lives. This is the year I lose 40 pounds. This is the year I bust my butt to get that promotion. This is the year I bite my tongue and get along better with my in laws. And almost inevitably, this is the year I break my New Year’s resolution. According to StatisticBrain.com, 45% of Americans usually make a New Year’s resolution and only 8% achieve it. Also according to this source, the younger you are, the more likely you are to achieve it. Adults in their 20s achieved their resolution 39% of the time compared to only 14% of people in their 50s. During my research for this article, I Googled various topics relating to New Year’s Resolutions to see what might bring me some inspiration. I came across two very telling lists from two very big sources.
Not surprisingly, they’re almost exactly the same. So, this year, how can you set yourself up to achieve your New Year’s resolution? The cynic in me wants to say, “Don’t make one.” But not only is that not helpful, that’s totally against my topic. Here are a few tips to make 2015 the year you actually keep your New Year’s resolution:
1. Make ONE resolution
Be reasonable. You’re not likely to achieve seven lofty goals this year, so set one goal and make sure you’re excited about it. While you know quitting smoking isn’t going to be easy, it will be nice to have your family and friends off your back about it and you know you’re doing something good for yourself. Also, be specific about your goal. It’s hard to tell if you’ve achieved vague goals like, “Be a better person.” If you’re having a hard to time choosing a resolution, you’re probably overthinking it. Typically, whatever comes to you first is the resolution that’s most important.
2. Plan your approach
In the business world, we are told to set SMART goals. That is, goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. While it may seem a bit overboard to go through the whole process you use at work to ensure your New Year’s resolution is SMART, all of these items are worth considering if you really want to achieve your goal. Another key statistic from StatisticBrain.com says that people who explicitly make resolutions are TEN times more likely to keep them than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.
3. Share your resolution
Post a note of the refrigerator, write it on your mirror, share it on Facebook. Do whatever you need to do to keep your eyes on the prize and hold yourself accountable. Having a New Year’s resolution buddy is a great way to stay honest about your goal…as long as you can handle your buddy asking how your weight loss is going as you’re scarfing down a slice of Snicker’s cheesecake.
4. Pick a start date
Contrary to popular belief, your New Year’s resolution does not need to begin on January 1. It’s still a busy time of year and you may have better success if you put it off a bit. For me, nothing real happens until the kids are back in school and we’ve settled back in to our routine. For others, beginning a new diet two weeks before a vacation also might not be the best timing. In addition to picking a start date, pick check-in dates as well. Set reminders for yourself at one week, one month, six months or whatever is appropriate.
5. Don’t be discouraged
Don’t be discouraged by setbacks . Anticipate problems and how you can avoid them or get past them. There’s a good chance you’ll get off course some time during the year, but that’s no reason to give up on your resolution. One unhealthy meal is no reason to go off your diet for the whole day or week, just as one cigarette in a moment of weakness is no reason to follow it up with six more. Find ways to encourage yourself when you’re having trouble or call a friend for support.
6. Reward yourself
Don’t just focus on a big reward for achieving your end goal, reward yourself for staying on track. As you reach those check-in dates you set for yourself, reward your success! Whether it’s buying a new pair of jeans for the first fifteen pounds lost or rewarding yourself with that new-fangled fitness device you didn’t know everyone has these days, rewards keep you going.
The time has come to choose your New Year’s resolution. Is 2015 the year you really do make that big change in your life? Or maybe 2015 is just the year you actually keep your New Year’s resolution. Either way, now you’re prepared to make it happen. And, in the spirit of following my own advice, I’m going to share my New Year’s resolution with you…in 2015 I want to earn more money. Considering I’m a stay-at-home mom who picks up freelance writing jobs in her spare time, this shouldn’t be too hard to achieve; however, having a toddler at home who seems to need a snack every time I turn around can be hard on productivity. See? I’ve already anticipated a problem, but I know I have great support at home to help me through the tough times. Good luck on your resolutions!