It’s tough to come up with resolutions. But they’re even tougher to keep. This year, I got started a little early with mine. A few months ago, I decided I was going to put in serious effort to lose weight, learn to play guitar, and save money. So far I’ve lost 18 pounds, I’ve bought a guitar and, well, to be honest I haven’t saved any money–BUT it’s going to happen. How do I know? I’ve got a plan to bring my resolutions to fruition. For the wellness calendar at my company, I was asked to write something about New Years Resolutions. So I researched how to successfully fulfill a resolution. It turns out resolutions are just like any goal you have in life–if you don’t have an actual plan, it’s just a wish. Here, I share the helpful tips I wrote about on how to achieve your resolution!
Happy 2013! New Year’s has always been a time for reflecting on your aspirations and looking toward the future. It’s also the time we vow to do a slew of things that most of us will not follow through on—but you can make this year different!
If you’ve already made a New Year’s resolution, you’re much more likely to make improvements than someone who hasn’t made a formal resolution at all. And if you can make it through the rest of January, well, you have a good chance of it lasting longer.
So whether you want to shed extra pounds, quit smoking or become fluent in Italian, adopting these strategies will help ensure that you keep your resolution. And this New Year might just produce a new happier, healthier you!
Decide on a resolution. Brainstorm a resolution that fits your life and values. Think about what will have the greatest impact on your happiness, health and fulfillment. Don’t spread yourself thin trying to make multiple changes—just focus on one or two of your most important goals. Ask yourself: How will my goal will change or improve the quality of my life? The answer can fuel your motivation.
Be simple and specific. There’s probably a number of things you want to change, but don’t overload yourself. A general resolution like “I want to be healthier” can be overwhelming. Stick to goals that you can reach, like walking for 30 minutes a day or losing one pound a week. Starting small makes your overall goal more attainable.
Plan it. Treat your resolution like a business plan—write it down. Devise a plan to achieve your goal like you would a vacation or a degree. Write out your mission and the specifics on how to achieve it.
…resolutions are just like any goal you have in life–if you don’t have an actual plan, it’s just a wish.
Take baby steps. Setting several smaller goals to achieve throughout the year will help you reach that ultimate goal. The success of the smaller achievements can increase your will power and will motivate you to keep pushing toward the bigger goal. If your goal is to walk 10,000 steps in a day, start by walking 3,500 the first week and work your way up.
Involve family and friends. Accountability is a great tool to keep you on track. Share your resolution with your friends and family. They can provide positive encouragement and gentle reminders if you get off track. Also, find a buddy with a similar resolution and work on it together. If you have a fitness goal, have weekly workout sessions and check in on each other’s progress.
Reward yourself with each milestone. If you’ve stuck with your goal at the end of eachmonth, treat yourself to something special. Just make sure it’s not something that derails your goal—like if you are trying to lose 10 pounds, don’t reward yourself with a candy bar.Treat yourself to a professional massage instead.
Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Everyone backslides. You’re on a diet, but you may slip and eat a slice of cake or miss a workout session. It’s OK; just anticipate and have a backup plan for the occasional backslide. If you ate that slice of cake, have an extra glass of water or add extra time to your next workout. A stumble doesn’t mean you should give up.
Be confident. Every time you reach a milestone, you’re just getting closer to your ultimate goal. Journal your progress and motivations so you have a physical reminder of what you’re aiming for. When you need encouragement, refer to your notes to see how far you’ve come. Then visualize yourself achieving your goal—it’s just a matter of time before you really do!