Ring in the New Year Right: How to Keep those Resolutions
New Year's resolutions always sound like such a good idea when we make them. Lose weight, stop smoking, exercise at least three times a week– you know what I mean. Particularly when you're trying to grow your family, the list of things you know you should do can feel endless.
Somewhere around the second week of January, reality sets in. Here's the bad news. Research shows 75% per resolutions don't last past the first week of the New Year, and by June less than half are still alive. But there is good news, too. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't. So there are ways to be successful at keeping those 2015 goals you've set for yourself.
Pick Your Battles
We can all name a laundry list of things we want to change about ourselves – and many of them might be good changes to adopt. But if you're resolution list for 2015 is too long, you might be in for disappointment. You probably shouldn't resolve to do all these at once:
- Ban caffeine if you're up to 5 cups a day
- Eat four more servings of veggies a day
- Run 20 miles a week when you're a confirmed couch potato
- Go vegan when you're a Big-Mac-aholic
While those are all worthy goals, prioritize which ones are most important to you. Cigarettes and other drug and alcohol use, for example, should be a high priority, while switching to all organic food may be less critical.
Downsize those Goals
It's not just the job market that's downsizing. Chances are, your resolutions should, too. “Resolutions fail because they are unrealistic,” said Dr. Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist in New York City. We're all guilty of setting goals that feel far too daunting. Whether you want to lose 50 pounds, run a marathon, or become a yoga master, it isn't going to happen immediately.
Nutritionist and fitness expert Joy Bauer encourages her clients to set what she calls “manageable mini goals,” such as losing two pounds in a week, or walking 30 minutes a day. “I highly recommend that people set short term goals to help them stay on track and build a sense of accomplishment,” said Bauer, creator of the “Slimdown Workout” DVD.
Create a Plan
If you want to get out of debt, or put an extra $5,000 in savings this year, it isn't going to just happen unless you got a money tree for Christmas. Name some specific action steps you can take – beginning today, that will get you a step closer to your goals. For example, you may resolve to save all of your spare change and deposit it into your savings account every month or you decide to add 3 extra hours at work each week and dedicate those earned funds to your savings account or debt repayment.
Go for it!
Once you have reasonable resolutions, divide them into reasonable goals and then create a plan that's guaranteed to get you where you want to be. You are well on your way to a happy and successful New Year!