How to (Finally) Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

For many people, the start of the year marks a time of reflection and self-improvement. That’s why more than 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. While resolutions and goal setting are productive ways to set intentions for the coming year, many fail to keep their resolutions for more than just a few months.

Why do so many people fail and how can you make this year different? Below are four strategies to use when setting goals that are sure to help you stick with it and finally succeed.

Start Small

Many New Year’s resolutions are extreme, which can contribute to their inevitable failure. Making broad, sweeping goals can be overwhelming and become discouraging as time goes on. Instead of a life-changing makeover overnight, aim to make small, incremental changes throughout the year. Set small goals or challenges for yourself daily or weekly. Small, sensible goals can feel less daunting, which means you are more likely to achieve them!

Be Specific

When setting goals of any kind, being clear and straightforward is in your best interest. For example, if your goal is to improve your physical fitness and lose weight, it’s crucial to write down exactly how to do that. Instead of resolving to ‘go to the gym more’ try something like: ‘go to the gym two days per week,’ then increase that number over time to build the habit.

Be Accountable

Another pitfall for many is failing to share their resolutions with others and asking for help. Sharing your resolutions with family and friends can help keep you accountable throughout the year. You might also find that others share similar goals. If so, check in with each other regularly, motivate and hold one another accountable.

Check Your Attitude

People often set New Year’s resolutions with the best of intentions. The coming year seems bright and full of opportunity — and it is! Don’t lose the inspiration and excitement that you felt while making your resolutions once the New Year rolls around. Just setting a goal will increase your chances of actually achieving it.

If you slip up throughout the year, get off track or take a day off remember it is okay! It’s estimated that 75% of people slip up on their resolutions within the first two months. Instead of feeling guilty or beating yourself up, acknowledge the misstep and get back on track. You don’t have to wait for tomorrow or Monday or next year. Every moment is a new opportunity to make a positive change in your life.

Remember, by setting New Year’s resolutions you are recognizing that your everyday choices have profound effects on your entire life. Making positive lifestyle changes is important, and reaching your goals, no matter how big or small, requires one step at a time.

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