We hate to be pessimistic at the start of a new year, but according to statistics, most people won’t keep their New Year’s resolutions. Sure, the gym may be packed throughout January, but come February, there won’t be a need to wait for an open treadmill.
According to a 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol, nearly 80 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail. While resolutions can be achieved, most people simply set themselves up for failure. Here’s how you can avoid becoming another statistic and achieve your New Year’s resolution.
The most popular resolution is always “lose weight” or “stay fit.” Not surprisingly, these are the resolutions most people will ditch as soon as they can get to the nearest fast food joint. Some people set unrealistic resolutions like losing 15 pounds in two weeks, or working out 7 days a week, when they haven’t worked out in three months. Many people will overwhelm themselves trying to do too much. The best way to keep your goals is to start off small and work your way up to more challenging feats.
Plan out steps to get to your goals
Too often, people focus on the end result, rather than the steps it takes to get there. Do your research on what it will take to achieve your goals and make a realistic plan to get from point A to point B. If your resolution is to lose weight, determine a diet plan and a doable exercise regimen. For any of your resolutions, determine the time, effort and money you can realistically commit to that resolution. If your goal is to take up a new hobby like gardening, find a class, or join a gardening group that will get you started.
Create new habits
Old habits are hard to break, and this is one of the reasons many New Years resolutions never have a chance. Take a look at what you have been doing in the past that kept you from achieving your goals. If your goal is to save more money, decide what your priorities are and cut back on expenses you can live without. If you want to be more organized, take a look at what’s creating the clutter (perhaps your hoarding tendencies, your laziness to clean up after yourself, or maybe your inability to figure out what goes where.) Address these bad habits immediately and decide how you will empower yourself to overcome them.
Surround yourself with positive reinforcement
Keeping resolutions and developing new habits will be hard to achieve if your environment is constantly sending you conflicting messages. Find a walking partner or someone to go to the gym with who will hold you accountable for keeping your fitness resolution. If your goal is to drink less, avoid associating with people or attending social events where temptations will be hard to ignore. Read inspirational books or surround yourself with people with similar goals, or who live your desired lifestyle. If your resolution is to take that trip to Europe, display your favorite scenic spot in Europe in a place where you’ll see it everyday (perhaps on your computer desktop?). That will keep you motivated to save your money and make the necessary plans to make that trip a reality.
Make your resolution public
Keeping your resolution to yourself only minimizes accountability to your goal. Tell your friends about your resolution, and if they’re your true friends, they’ll support you and hold you accountable. Sometimes, writing your resolutions down where you can refer back to it helps. Create a blog for your friends and family, or send updates via social media updating them on your resolution progress. They’ll cheer you on, and the desire not to disappoint them will motivate you to success.
Just do it
Many resolutions fail even before they’re started. For example, people will wait to start their fitness routine until they feel they’re motivated enough. Sometimes, that motivation never comes and the resolutions fade until next New Year’s Eve. Getting into a new habit and seeing the positive results coming from your new lifestyle will only further motivate you to continue keeping your resolution through the year and beyond.
This article first appeared on Glendora Patch.