Fewer than 10% of us keep our New Year’s resolutions. Read on to find out how you can finally crush your goals this year.
1. CLEARLY DEFINE YOUR GOALS
The more well-defined, narrow in scope and shorter in duration your goals are, the more successful you’ll be. Resolutions like “get in shape,” “be more organized” and “have more patience with the kids” are noble pursuits, but the more universal the goal, the more difficult it is to achieve. Dr. Marciano believes the first step in an effective behavior change program is to clearly understand what it is that you want to modify. Reframe “get in shape” to “gain more muscle” or “lower my blood pressure.” Keep it focused so it’s easier to stay on target.
The more universal the goal, the more difficult it is to achieve.
2. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Regardless of your specific goals, you should begin by accurately measuring your starting points and tracking your progress. If you resolve to cut down on drinking, write down how many drinks you consume in a given week now. You should also track what your goal is for the weeks to come. Dr. Marciano says to mark down your progress as you work your way toward the goal. Then reward yourself when you reach your milestone. (And no, that doesn’t mean celebrating with a beer.)
Mark down your progress as you work your way toward the goal.
3. DEVELOP CONSEQUENCES
You know why the average New Year’s resolution lasts only six weeks? There are no real consequences for remaining faithful or falling off the wagon. So think creatively about what you can do to reward or punish yourself. Dr. Marciano suggests making a deal with your significant other when you succeed. Run a few extra miles when you don’t. Just be sure your consequences are immediate, not long term. It’s the best way to keep you motivated day to day.
You know why the average New Year’s resolution lasts only six weeks? There are no real consequences.
4. LET FRIENDS AND FAMILY KNOW
When people publicly announce their intentions, they’re more likely to follow through. So once you have your resolution locked in, tell your friends, family and coworkers. Ask them to support you. If at all possible, find a partner—say, a significant other or friend—who has similar goals and check in with each other. This puts you on the spot. Because now you’ll have to admit to someone other than yourself that you screwed up. And, scientifically speaking, that would suck.
Once you have your resolution locked in, ask your friends, family and coworkers for support.
5. IF YOU SLIP UP, DON’T GIVE UP
News flash: Everybody fails. So if you blow it once or twice, don’t quit. Get right back in the game. Studies show that successful people are those who learn from their mistakes and quickly put them out of their mind. Your one cheat day turned into two? Get over it. Peeked at social media? Don’t dwell on it. Skipped the gym today? Go tomorrow. Analyze and understand your stumbling blocks, and then seek to overcome them. Just. Keep. Going.
Ready to make that resolution? Let us know how you do in the comments below.