Although it’s already January 5th it’s never too late to get started with some New Year’s Resolutions.
Lose weight. Save money. Change jobs. Every January, one in three Americans makes a New Year’s Resolution, according to Health.com. These intentions are a focus for the next 12 months, a chance to make your life better, happier and more fulfilling. While 75 percent of people stick to their goals for a week, less than half are still on track after six months (http://bit.ly/1c1mlVZ).
This year, set yourself up for success in the New Year by following these tips when setting your resolution:
Focus. Rather than trying to lose ten pounds, volunteer once a month and finally save for that Caribbean cruise, choose just one goal to focus on. Trying to totally overhaul your life isn’t realistic, instead focus on one area you’d like to improve on. Plus, any change generally requires many other smaller lifestyle changes. For example, losing weight requires starting a workout regimen, cooking more often to eat healthier, drinking more water and possibly avoiding certain social outings.
Be specific. Wanting to ‘get skinny’ or ‘save money’ is too vague—it leaves room for interpretation. Instead, make a concrete goal, such as losing ten pounds or saving $100 from each paycheck. This precise number leaves no room for interpretation and can even act as greater motivation.
Break up large goals. This goes back to lifestyle changes necessary for most big goals. To reach your overall goal, set daily, weekly and monthly behavior benchmarks to remain on track and stay motivated. To continue with the weight loss example, one week’s focus could be to workout four times, pack a healthy lunch every day and drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. As these little practices become habit, set new weekly intentions.
Avoid absolutes. Vowing to never eat sweets again or not shop for an entire year is setting yourself up for failure. Give your willpower some wiggle room and make attainable resolutions, like only eating sweets at restaurants, or have a weekly splurge to look forward too. A little indulgence helps you stay satisfied and on track. Being realistic about what is achievable will make you more likely to stick with your resolution.
Write it down. Physically writing down your goals for the year makes them more real than just thinking about them. Post them somewhere you will see them everyday to stay committed. Go another step further by sharing your intentions with others; tell family and friends, coworkers and post on social media to gain additional support and be held accountable.
Veer off the beaten path. Try setting a different goal than you have before. Analyze what areas you’d like to grow and match your goals accordingly. Losing weight or saving more money are common objectives, but these can be superficial. Aim to improve your overall happiness—schedule weekly ‘me’ time, read a book each month, volunteer as a family every month or plan a date night each week. Sometimes less tangible rewards are more beneficial by promoting feelings of self worth and easing stress.
Here’s to a great 2015!