“Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.”— Anonymous
Oftentimes we consider the holidays a self-reflective time to redefine ourselves with commitments to being a healthier person, a better partner, or a more mindful individual into the coming year. According to national polls, the most popular resolutions have remained fairly constant in the last ten years, with only the top five fluctuating. Heading in to 2016, they ranked as follows:
|3||Spend Less, Save More|
|4||Enjoy Life to the Fullest|
|5||Staying Fit and Healthy|
|6||Learn Something Exciting|
|8||Help Others in Their Dreams|
|9||Fall in Love|
|10||Spend More Time with Family|
According to the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, 75% of us are able to maintain our resolutions up to one week; this falls to 71% after two weeks, 64% after one month, and drops to 46% after six months. Only 8% of those who make New Year’s resolutions are actually successful in achieving their goals on a long-term basis. So why the difficulty?
Research points to the fact we regularly set ambitious goals without taking the time to lay out specific steps and behaviors in order to accomplish said plans. While some resolutions are more abstract than others (and therefore more difficult to measure), consider these suggestions that can help you to be more successful in putting your aspirations into practice –
- Keep it straightforward.
Because we have so many competing priorities, creating a monumental list of lofty goals can seem daunting from the get-go, almost ensuring that you will become overwhelmed and fail at most if not all resolutions. Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year rather than attempting an entire physical/professional/spiritual makeover can help you track your progression from week-to-week. For example, prioritize that you really want to go to at least one professional networking event per month AND collect at least three business cards while there. It’s easier to accomplish a laundry list rather than a bucket list.
- Make it a measureable, concrete goal.
Aim for a tangible goal that can be measured in realistic metrics. Instead of saying you’d like to lose some weight, specify that you’d like to lose 5 pounds by March. Instead of saying you’d like to reorganize the entire house, focus first on reorganizing one section of one room of your house (example: bedroom closet). Maybe aim to save money by only eating out once a week rather than never eating out at all. Setting parameters can make anything seem attainable. Something to keep in mind – vague goals result in vague resolutions.
- Make it public.
Consider mentioning your goals to family, a close group of friends, or even publicizing it on social media. That added accountability can assist you in pushing through the hard times to achieving your goal. Encouragement and support can also give you the extra bump you need on those days that you don’t think you can make it to that 6PM boot camp, or you find yourself reaching for that hidden pack of cigarettes. Set two goals this year and partner up with an accountability buddy prior to January 1st!
- Keep faith in yourself.
Resolutions alter anything from your daily behaviors to your way of thinking, so what makes us think that they should be easy? There is no shame in struggling or not being successful from day one. It’s important to remember that you are valuable, and strong, and you can do it. You’ve already made the first step of recognizing that you want this change; you’re already halfway there!
We’d love to hear more about your specific goals as we transition into 2017. Good luck in putting your resolutions into practice this year!