5 Super Tips to Achieving New Year’s Resolutions Success

Ah the excitement of a brand new year is upon us. You can feel and almost taste the change in the air. With a New Year comes the opportunity to once again select some of those all important New Year’s resolutions. About every other person will make at least one resolution this next year, but how many of them will succeed?

Studies show that roughly 77 percent of people can stick with their resolutions for the first week. The first week is all. But by weeks three and four, the numbers have dropped to 64 percent. They continue to fall even further by weeks five and six.  In fact, only 50 percent are still working towards their New Year’s resolutions at the three month mark and just 46 percent at six months.

So what’s the bright side you might ask? People who can stick with their resolutions by the six-month mark are 10 times more likely to keep going versus those who didn’t set any resolutions at all.[1] In other words, the magic behind setting goals specifically at the start of the New Year has proven advantages versus setting a goal at a random time of year.

So why do some people succeed while others fail? How you make your resolutions this year makes a big difference. Here are five important methods on setting up your New Year’s resolutions for success.

1. Start with realistic, simple goals. It can be tempting to write a big, long list of resolutions when you’re excited about the future. However, you’re much more likely to succeed if you just stick with one or two resolutions that are realistic and within your own reach. Aim for small goals that are manageable with your typical schedule and lifestyle.

2. Then get super specific. Once you have an idea of what you want your resolution to be, make it specific. You’re more likely to succeed at goals that are measurable and detailed. Instead of setting a vague resolution to lose weight, fine-tune it to achieve better results. For example, take this sentence and fill in the blanks: I want to lose ___ pounds before ___ (date) by running ___ miles a week and cutting out ___ from my diet.

3. Share and seek support. Change is hard and you don’t need to feel obligated to go at it alone. Consider sharing your resolutions with family and friends. By making your goals known to others, you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable. Plus, they can be your biggest cheerleaders. Finding a buddy or joining a network of people with similar goals helps you stay on track. A little extra support can go a long way to achieving success.

4. Plan status checks and rewards. A common reason people give up on their resolutions is because life just has a tendency to get in the way. When things pile up on your to do list, it’s easy to forget and/or lower the priority of your resolutions. To help yourself stay focused, set up calendar reminders and notifications to keep your resolutions top of mind. Also, schedule status checks to review your progress on a regular basis and identify solutions to any challenges that you’re facing. You can also come up with incentives like a quarterly reward.  These rewards can help keep you focused and propel yourself forward throughout the year.

5. Stand up to failure and recommit. There’s no hard-fast rule that says you have to give up on your resolutions if you hit a roadblock or have a moment of weakness. The important thing is to avoid developing a habit of making excuses and perpetually procrastinating. If you’re running into challenges, figure out what specifically is preventing you from achieving your goal. Next, visualize your own success and recommit.

Making New Year’s resolutions is a great way to develop critical awareness, build self-trust and grow. Change isn’t easy, but the rewards can transform your life for the better if you can achieve your goals. Remember to believe in yourself and think positively!

Need some help deciding what resolutions to make this year? Here’s a list of top 10 ideas you can reference to get your creative juices flowing.[2] Don’t forget to make your resolutions specific and attainable!

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[1] Bernstein, Lenny, “It’s a week into January and a quarter of us have already abandoned our New Year’s resolutions,” The Washington Post, January 7, 2015.

[2] Nielsen, “This Year’s Top New Year’s Resolution? Fitness!” Nielsen, January 8, 2015.

 

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