By Mike Eide
Happy New Year everyone! I love the New Year. There is no better way to start a reboot with things in your life, but with these resolutions of the new year comes the dreaded having to follow through with them. How many of you had 1 or more resolutions this year? Now how many are still following them? Unfortunately the one’s who have stopped following their New Year’s resolutions are in the majority by this point. Forbes website states that 40% of Americans make resolutions in the new year, but for all their good intentions only a small fraction of them keep them. In fact, based on research by the University of Scranton only 8% of people actually follow through on their New Year’s resolutions by years end.
Now don’t fret if you are in the group of people that have already strayed from your diet, or started smoking again or whatever your goal was. The great thing about life is that everyday is like a new beginning. You can treat everyday like a New Year and reboot those failed attempts at your New Year’s resolutions. Here are some tips to help you have more success this time around.
The first tip is to be realistic. Do not aim too high. If you are smoking two packs of cigarettes a day you are going to have trouble cutting down to zero in a day. If you work a minimum wage job you probably will be setting yourself up for failure if you aim to be driving a Ferrari by years end. Setting realistic smaller goals leading to a larger goal will help you in achieving your goal and not becoming depressed by setting yourself up for failure. Which brings me to tip two
Planning ahead goes hand in hand with being realistic. If you do not have a plan of how you are going to achieve an end goal you will never achieve it. Take the smoker example I stated above. For the smoker maybe your end goal is to be fully quit smoking by the end of the year, but your plan is to cut back by 1 cigarette a day for a week. Then after the week you start cutting back to no more lunchtime cigarettes, replacing them with a nicotine gum. Gradually you will plan the cutting back to a point where you have replaced your smokes with gum or the patch 100% and then you can move on to your plan for completely quitting. Someone having a goal of quitting smoking in 2015 is not necessarily a unrealistic goal, it just might be un realistic if they do not properly plan how they intend to do it.
Talk About Your Resolution/Ask for Support
A lot of people are embarrassed about their resolutions. Most people do not like to show weaknesses in themselves therefore they do not talk about them. What I am saying is to tell people what your goals are for the New Year. Don’t be afraid of failing, in fact people knowing might be the extra motivation you need to keep going. Having others know what you are trying to do will help hold you accountable towards continuing to try and achieve your goal in ways you couldn’t even imagine. On top of that it is nearly impossible for a human to succeed with these types of things alone. You will need support, and by talking to others about it they will in turn be there to help you stay on track or if you do fail to help you to try again.
Track Your Progress/Reward Yourself
With your plan for how you are going to achieve your goal one added element is that you will have steps to take along the way that you will be able to track and reward yourself for achieving. If you wanted to lose X amount of weight this year for example, you would plan to maybe eliminate eating fast food first, then maybe cut sugar from your diet completely, then maybe add eating more greens or something like that. After each step you can track how you are going along with pounds lost. Once you have completed a step on the way to your goal reward yourself. The reward could be anything you want (within reason), like maybe a $20 shopping trip, a little “you” time or something like that. Tracking and rewarding yourself will help you stay on track much better and in the case of losing weight it will help you a lot better than pounds lost because you can see that you are making lifestyle changes that will help to you losing weight in the future rather than becoming depressed because you are not losing weight quick enough.
Stick to It/Keep Trying/Don’t Beat Yourself Up
The last tip I have is a big one. Keep this in mind, 92% of people will fail with their resolution. If you happen to be one of them don’t beat yourself up. If you have lost 10 pounds but then fall of the wagon over a bad weekend or due to some added stress in your life, stop, refocus and do what you would do with a computer that stops working, reboot! Like I said above everyday is a brand new beginning. So what you lost 10 pounds and then gained 4 back over a weekend. You are still down 6 pounds and can start fresh again. So what if you have cut back to 1 pack of smokes a day and in a moment of stress you increase to a pack and a half for a bit. Treat the next day as a reboot and refocus yourself back towards your end goal. Do not allow getting depressed over failing result in you totally ditching your efforts. It might seem easier to say then it actually is, but that is where asking for support is huge. If you have told a close friend or loved one your goal and they see that you have fallen off they will be there to help support you to get back up and on the wagon to continue towards your end goal.
In closing I hope that some of these tips can help you to reboot your New Year’s resolutions if you fall in the 92% of people that will struggle with it this year. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth it ever is. But with setting realistic goals, planning right, surrounding yourself with support people, tracking and rewarding your progress and staying positive/keep trying I hope that we can all be in that 8% group at the end of this year.
Do you have any tips for helping you achieve your New Year’s resolutions, or do you have any success stories you would like to share? Leave them in the comments below.