Originally posted December 26, 2014
As the new year approaches, many of us are considering the resolutions that we want to put in place in order to improve ourselves and/or our lives. Unfortunately, New Years resolutions often fail, typically within the first few weeks of January. Consider the following tips to increase your likelihood of successfully sticking with your resolutions:
1. Check your motivation for the resolution.
—Is this really a change that you want to make (and feel ready for), or are you just feeling pressure to do so as you realize that time continues to pass? The more motivated you are, the more likely you are to be able to successfully stick to your resolution. Consider doing a cost/benefit analysis. If the costs of the old behavior clearly outweigh the benefits, you may be ready to make the change. If not, then you may want to wait until a time when you actually feel internally motivated.
2. Consider setting specific, measurable goals rather than lofty resolutions.
Losing weight is a common resolution, but when you set a non-specific goal, it’s hard to tell whether you’ve actually achieved it. The key to goal-setting is to set goals that are “SMART”:
So instead of aiming to lose weight, for example, consider setting a more specific goal of losing ten pounds within two months.
3. Focus on one resolution at a time.
Creating new habits requires willpower, a tool that we only have so much of at any given time. If you are working on making several changes at the same time, you’re likely to exhaust yourself and deplete your willpower reserve. Instead, focus on one change at a time. Once that change becomes a habit, you will have more willpower to dedicate to implementing new changes.
4. Be realistic about the resolutions you’re making!
If you expect your resolution to change your entire life, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. While quitting smoking is a resolution with obvious benefits, it may not solve your financial problems or your issues with your family. Don’t get discouraged! Focus on the benefits that you are experiencing since making the change, rather than the problems that remain.