We all know every January millions of Americans will be setting their New Year's resolutions and set goals to improve themselves in some way. Some of the most common resolutions people make are to exercise more, quit smoking, spend more time with family and friends, lose weight, get out of debt... and the list goes on! New Year's resolutions are popular in America with about 40 percent of people make them, but sadly few people succeed at keeping their resolutions.
In a study conducted by the University of Scranton of 200 people who made New Year's resolutions over a two-year period, only 19 percent of those admitted reaching their goal when researchers followed up with them two years later. While this may seem to be a discouraging number, there is some hope as the study also showed that people who made resolutions were more likely to make a positive change in their life compared to people who did not set a New Year's resolution at all!
So how do you make those resolutions stick? Below are some suggestions that might be helpful before you get started.
Making your resolutions. I believe one of the main problems we have when setting goals is setting too many. Creating your New Year's resolution list and having 20 goals throughout the year can be overwhelming and stressful! Realistically one should have three to five main goals they are focusing on at one time in order to be successful. I encourage you to pick three to five areas of your life that you want to focus on for 2019 and write those goals down. I believe writing your goals down on post-its and posting them in several places around the house such as the bathroom mirror, or on the refrigerator, so you see them daily keeps them fresh in your mind and helps you remember to spend time on them daily to achieve them.
Be realistic. One of the most common problems when setting a goal is setting one that is unrealistic. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds during 2019, you must have the right mindset as well as a game plan. Write down 50 pounds for 2019 as your main goal, but also break it down into smaller goals. Maybe you set losing 10 pounds every two months which will give you a buffer in case you miss your mark one of those months. Maybe you set a smaller goal of losing four pounds per month and celebrate each month when you accomplish that goal! Just keep in mind to be realistic when setting your goals.
Have a plan. Once you have your resolutions, think about how you are going to achieve those goals. Just writing down goals on a piece of paper is not going to get you anywhere! Thinking about the resolutions you want to make and what action you will need to take to reach your goals is an important part of succeeding. If you want an incredible guide to making life goals, I would encourage you to read a book I read this quarter by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy entitled: "Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want."
Share with a friend. One way to achieve your goals is to tell someone who can hold you accountable. Posting on Facebook is also fine as it makes it public to your family and friends that you are setting some yearly goals, but this can be lost in the many posts that people are scrolling through. Finding one to two people in your life that want to help you reach your goals and will remind you of how important your goals are to you is a sure way of keeping on track throughout the year and ultimately reaching them!
Use a calendar. There is something awesome about seeing visual accomplishments. I meditate daily and use an app that shows me the longest consecutive streak I have for daily meditation. I love seeing the calendar with each day marked as an accomplishment! Why not use one for your resolutions? Get a calendar either paper or online and every time you complete your goal for that day or that month, mark it down in big read letters with an "X" or "Accomplished." Seeing all the hard work marked on the calendar will motivate you to keep up the great work!
Be kind. We all know that making changes in our life is going to be difficult so don't be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake. Just pick up and start again the next day! What is the old proverb they taught long ago... ? "If at first you don't success, try, try again!" Just remember, we are all going to have setbacks. We are all going to make mistakes from time to time, but if we accept that it will happen and push on to continue getting to our goal, we will succeed.
What have I found in my research as the take-home message in writing this article? Making a New Year's resolution is a useful tool and, with the proper planning and attitude, can be an effective way to make a positive change in your life.
So, what are your resolutions going to be? I would love to hear them and help you reach them if you want encouragement. Good luck and Happy New Year!