The start of a new year is the perfect time to turn a new page, which is probably why so many people create New Year's Resolutions. Resolutions are much easier to make than to keep and by the end of January, many of us have abandoned our resolve and settled back into our old patterns.
Why We Make Resolutions
The beginning of a new year seems like an opportunity for a fresh start, which is why so many people set sometimes overly lofty resolutions during these times. While this can sometimes lead people to bite off more than they can chew, such moments can also present great opportunities to overcome struggles with willpower.
So, what can you do to make it more likely that you will keep your next resolution?
Choose a Specific, Realistic Goal
Every year, millions of adults resolve to "lose weight" or "get in shape" during the next year. Instead of selecting such an ambiguous goal, focus on something more concrete that you can realistically set your sights on.
For example, you might commit to losing 10 pounds or running a mini-marathon. Choosing a concrete, achievable goal also gives you the opportunity to plan exactly how you are going to accomplish your goal over the course of the year.
Pick Just One Resolution
While you might have a long list of potential New Year's Resolutions, pick just one and focus your energies on it rather than spreading yourself too thin among a number of different objectives.
Start With Small Steps
Taking on too much is a common reason why so many New Year's Resolutions fail. Dramatically slashing calories, over-doing it at the gym, or radically altering your normal behavior are sure-fire ways to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal.
Remember That Change Is a Process
Those unhealthy habits that you are trying to change probably took years to develop, so how can you expect to change them in just a matter of days, weeks, or months?
It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals, but remember that this is not a race to the finish. Once you have made the commitment to changing a behavior, it is something that you will continue to work on for the rest of your life.
Get Support From Your Friends and Family
Yes, you've probably heard this advice a million times, but that is because the buddy system actually works. Having a solid support system can help you stay motivated.
Don't Let Small Stumbles Bring You Down
Encountering a setback is one of the most common reasons why people give up on their New Year's Resolutions. If you suddenly relapse into a bad habit, don't view it as a failure. The path toward your goal is not a straight one, and there are always going to be challenges. Instead, view relapses as learning opportunities.
If you are keeping a resolution journal, write down important information about when the relapse occurred and what might have triggered it. By understanding the challenges you face, you will be better prepared to deal with them in the future.