Many take on the challenge, but few succeed. What challenge? New Year’s resolutions. It is estimated that only eight percent of those who use January 1, 2015 to set goals for themselves actually succeed.
Self-improvement is one of Americans’ favorite hobbies, and a recent study reports that 45% of us typically make resolutions at the New Year. In a few weeks, we’ll hit the halfway point for 2015. Have you achieved any of your resolutions or have you given up? Resigned from the gym and put in a standing order for an almond croissant with your white chocolate Frappuccino?
Whether you’ve thrown in the towel or you’re backsliding, here are some suggestions to get you back on course.
Review Your Goals: Limit your objectives to two or three. Too many and your effort and attention is diluted.
Reframe Your Goals: Don’t go for the impossible. Losing 50 pounds by September 30 may sound great, but is it achievable? Whittle down impossible goals into small targets and set intermediate benchmarks. If weight loss is your objective, pick a small number of pounds to lose each week. Similarly, exercise goals should be attainable. Instead of targeting a daily work out, aim for three days a week. Smaller, doable goals help maintain your motivation.
Envision Your Success: Let yourself daydream about what your life will be like if you meet your goal. Picture it and identify the positive aspects of achieving it. If your goal is to give up smoking, think about the health benefits and the financial savings for example. Then – and only then – identify what holds you back, the obstacles to achieving your dream. Maybe it’s the soothing effect of the nicotine or close associations with other smokers. Identifying obstacles to success is critical but psychological research indicates that it will be most beneficial if done after enjoying the rosy vision of achievement.
Create a Plan: Most goals require a well thought-out plan of attack. The dreamy ideal of fitting in a size 6 for your wedding can only be achieved by identifying the necessary steps to slide smoothly into that dress. Maybe it’s cutting out carbs or alcohol or going for a run four days a week. Identify the battle plan that suits you. The blueprint should include clear milestones that – if missed – tell you it’s time for Plan B.
Commit Publicly: Share your goal with your family, your colleagues or a professional coach. They can provide support and encouragement when your spirits lag. Don’t be afraid to ask for their help.
Chart Your Progress: Have fun creating a bar chart or even a simple checklist where you can give yourself a star for each day you worked toward your gold. (Gold stars work for grown-ups too!) If you’re a visual learner and enjoy crafts, create an inspirational vision board.
Celebrate Milestones: Reward yourself for reaching a benchmark. Pick something meaningful to you whether it’s a manicure or a new pair of running shoes.
You can join the top 8% and be among those who achieve your resolutions. The rest of 2015 lies in front of you. Use it to succeed!