January 22, 2020
How to Make and Keep a New Year’s Resolution
If you’re anything like me, or most Americans, actually keeping a new year’s resolution for over a year seems almost impossible. You’ve tried and failed so many times, that even setting a goal seems pointless. Fear not! It’s totally possible…if it’s done right.
Start Small: The biggest thing we humans need to do is to start small. Break it up into baby steps. Want to quit smoking? Start by quitting choosing not to have that last cigarette before bed, then choose another one to cut out, and eventually, make it up to a day, then 2, maybe every Monday… Whatever you believe you can actually attain. Want to lose weight? First figure out how. Plan to make a salad for lunch at least one day a week and hit the gym twice. Resolutions are fluid—they’re on a spectrum. Start small, and grow as you complete each goal.
*This plan also works well for overwhelming projects in general. If there’s something looming that seems so big, and you feel paralyzed, break it down into 20-minute increments. Tell yourself, “I will work on this for 20 minutes with no exceptions or interruptions.” The 20 minutes tend to multiply, and before you know it, you’ll finish!
Plan Ahead: Spend the end of the year figuring out and researching how you will reach your goal. If your resolution is to learn a new skill, you have to do the research to figure out how and when it will happen and if you can afford it.
Track Your Progress: Whether you want to lose weight, eat better, learn something new or save more money, a simple spreadsheet can go a long way. Each day, record what you’ve done that day to achieve your goal. If you want to save money, create a row for each baby step, and check them off as you go such as: Bring lunch to work or make coffee at home. You should also have a row for every time you choose NOT to do something like get a snack from the vending machine.
Get Support: Nothing about this is easy. It’s important to rely on those closest to you for support and encouragement. Check in with them weekly, and if you’re feeling a weak moment coming on, call a friend first.
Reward Yourself: This is the best part! Did you get to the gym 5 days this week? Get a new water bottle or watch your favorite show. You didn’t have any alcohol during the week? Grab a beer with a friend on Saturday.
Don’t Expect Perfection: Unlike Mary Poppins, most people are not “practically perfect in every way.” We don’t want to be! Perfection is boring. Falling off the horse is totally acceptable as long as you get back on. Life can totally get in the way of achieving your goal, but it’s the people who choose to go back to it that end up actually keeping their resolutions. If your goal is to be healthier, and you get sick, it’s okay to take some time off to recover. No one appreciates the guy who looks like death coughing all over the place at the gym. So rest up! Then, make sure you get back into your new routine.
You can do this! Cut yourself some slack and be realistic. Remember: Nothing changes if nothing changes!
According to Vitagene.com, the most common New Year’s Resolution in 2019 for Minnesotans was to do something for self-care. And, cheers to us, as we came in 3rd place as 31%of us actually kept our resolutions for over a year.
The Top 10 most common New Year’s Resolutions are:
1. Exercise more
2. Lose weight
3. Get organized
4. Learn a new skill or hobby
5. Live life to the fullest
6. Save more money / spend less money
7. Quit smoking
8. Spend more time with family and friends
9. Travel more
10. Read more
*According to goskills.com.