New Year’s resolutions are easy to make. Sticking to them, however, is another story. Even though you know that these goals can help you improve your life, it can be hard to turn lifestyle changes into habits.
If you’re one of the nearly 56 percent of Americans who make a yearly resolution, a few strategies and suggestions can help you succeed in achieving your goals. In this article, we’ll talk about the best ways to make healthy changes and sustain them in the future.
Why Resolutions Fail
Some people’s resolutions involve losing weight or getting more exercise; other people may resolve to manage their stress levels, get help for a substance abuse problem or stick to their recovery. Regardless of the specific goal, the main reason most resolutions fail is because they’re unrealistic.
Lofty goals might look good on paper, but it can take a long time to achieve them—this often leads people to give up.
It’s better to divide your resolution into smaller, more manageable goals. If you want to lose 15 pounds, it’s better to commit to losing one pound per week over the course of four months. If you’re trying to maintain your sobriety, break it down into a series of monthly goals.
Another reason New Year’s resolutions don’t stick is a lack of accountability. Be sure that the people in your life know about your goal, and ask them to help you stay on track. Get a workout partner to help you keep up your fitness routine, or join a support group to help you maintain your recovery efforts. You’ll work harder toward your goals when you know other people are counting on you.
Set Yourself up for Success
Once you’ve defined some reasonable goals, it’s important to develop an action plan to help you achieve them. For example, a person who resolves to lose weight may decide that they’re going to stop snacking at night, or they may commit to taking a brisk walk each day after work.
You’ll also need to steel yourself for the challenges you’re bound to face. To stay motivated, remind yourself why you want to make this change in the first place and envision your successful outcome.
Getting Back on Track
It’s normal to slip up from time to time, but don’t let a minor setback cause you to give up on your goal. If your motivation is lagging or you’ve slipped up a bit, remember your action plan and jump right back on track. Keep the big picture in mind: You’re not expecting perfection, you’re striving for improvement.
Most people make their resolutions in the beginning of January, but it’s never too late to make positive changes in your life. Whether you want to drop some stubborn pounds or get serious about recovery, there’s no time like the present to get started. With a reasonable goal in mind and a solid action plan to help you get there, you can begin the journey toward a happier, healthier lifestyle.