New Year’s Resolutions: A Different Approach

New Years:

It’s that time of year again; yes it’s New Year’s resolution time! It’s that time when the gyms are running at maximum capacity and people who are trying to quit smoking are completely unbearable. Prepare yourself for endless posts on Facebook about new diets and healthy recipes. I’m sorry, but your friends will have less time for you due to the fact they are going to be committing themselves to volunteering more and being more involved in the community. It will be tough, but don’t worry; you shouldn’t have to endure all of this for more than 3 or 4 weeks.Weights

I don’t mean to come across as cynical, I find myself in that crowd as well. I usually make New Year’s resolutions; sometimes I blow it, sometimes I follow through. This year, however, I decided to be a little more intentional about how I approach my resolutions. This year I did a little research.

Did you know that:

45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions.
17% of Americans infrequently make New Year’s resolutions.
38% of Americans never make New Year’s resolutions.
8% of those who make resolutions will achieve their goal.
25% of those who make resolutions won’t even make it past the first week.

So what do you do with that information? No really, what do YOU do with it? Does it make you feel depressed and defeated to know that so many people try and fail at reaching their goals. Perhaps you think resolutions are stupid and that you aren’t going to make any this year. The thought crossed my mind.

However, did you know that…

Those who explicitly make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals than those who don’t.

Perhaps you look at that information and it excites you. 8% of Americans are setting themselves a goal and are achieving it. How hard does it have to be to put yourself in that 8%? Well it’s simple; you just have to do what the 8% do. What does that look like? What do the 8% do differently?

Making it stick:

Here’s how to make this year’s New Year’s resolutions stick:

1. They should be simple.

Your New Year’s resolutions are not your bucket list. If you set up a list a mile long you will struggle. It’s just too overwhelming for most people to have a hundred different irons in the fire. Your resolutions should be simple and realistic. This doesn’t mean you can’t dream, just be realistic.

2. They should be measurable.

Goals

This is probably one of the most important things to remember and the one that will help you the most with reaching your goals. Vague is your enemy. Vague gives you lots of room to make excuses and to weasel out of your resolutions.

Goals like…
“to get healthier”
“to get ready for college”
“to get better grades”
“to read more”

…are all destined to fail. Why? Because how do you know when you’ve reached them? If you don’t have a clear idea of what you are aiming for you’ll never hit your target.

Better options would be…
“to jog at least twice a week, every week ”
“to have all college essays done by … date ”
“to get my chemistry grade to a 90% in the first quarter”
“to read 2 nonfiction and 2 fiction books by summer break”

3. Create accountability.

Tell people about what you’re doing. The more people you tell the more accountable you will feel about having to reach your goal. If all of your friends and family know you are trying to do something, they will ask you about it; of course you’ll want give them a good report.

4. Believe in yourself and in what you’re doing.

Making New Year’s resolutions to impress others or because of outside pressure will rarely work. Resolutions require a lot of willpower and to see them through you have to be genuinely committed.

Thoughts:

What do you think? Do you have any tricks for sticking with your New Year’s resolutions? Have you ever made a resolution that you kept? Let me know your thoughts and have a very happy new year.

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