It may be surprising to learn that New Year’s resolutions are fading in popularity. According to a study done by the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans frequently make New Year’s resolutions, and of that 45% only 8% achieve their goals. The numbers are disheartening, yes. But there is reassurance; according to the same study, those who make New Year’s resolutions were ten times more likely to reach their desired goals versus those who didn’t set them at all.
2016 is the year that you join that 8% and work to help those statistics grow in size.
The most important step in creating a New Year’s resolution is understanding how to keep it throughout the duration of the year (or until you achieve it in its entirety). It’s a daunting task, but only requires a little forethought and planning.
Make your resolutions. The biggest mistake people make when deciding on their resolutions is that they want to change too many things; they want to break bad habits, save more money, and become a fitness guru in a matter of months. Taking on too many resolutions that all attempt to change ingrained behavior will, ultimately, lead to setbacks and resignation. To avoid this, make only one or two resolutions that you really, truly want to fulfill. These don’t have to be trendy; it could be anything you wanted. Just make them significant to you.
Then write them down and keep them handy. According to a study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University of California, more than 70% of those who write their goals down achieved them compared to those who didn’t write their goals down. Putting your New Year’s resolution in writing will hold you accountable for the changes you are implementing.
Make a plan. This is where you should break the resolution into concrete and achievable steps. Set SMART goals where your resolution steps are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. Be aware that going overboard with expectations is going to discourage you down the line when you aren’t seeing those unattainable results. Maintain a realistic point-of-view when creating these steps so that you can reach each milestone.
Make the changes. Behaviors are tough to turn around, so view all of your setbacks as temporary and forgive yourself. If you skipped a day at the gym, then give yourself a rest and get up and go tomorrow. If you weren’t able to put as much in savings this month as you wanted, then understand where your oversights were and you’ll do better next month. Berating yourself will only discourage you from working toward the goal entirely. So be kind to yourself.
And reward yourself for reaching milestones. According to Psychology Today, the secret to achieving a goal is small rewards spread through the duration instead of one ultimate reward at the end of the process. Go to the gym all three days one week? Haven’t eaten out in a month? Give yourself a small reward.
In order to keep your New Year’s resolutions, you will have to do a little planning, but that will go a long way. Big changes don’t happen overnight, but taking them in small steps can definitely expedite the process.
Ready to start 2016 with that great “new year, new you” feeling? We can help. Schedule a massage with us, and we’ll make sure you take on the New Year relaxed and ready to tackle your resolutions or reward those goals we know you’re reaching.