We all know that sticking to our New Year’s resolutions isn’t easy. Some of us may quit on our goals after a couple of days while others quit weeks later. It may seem discouraging and stressful, but it is important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a red light for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on last year’s behavior and commit to make positive lifestyle changes. “Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.” By making your resolutions realistic, you are more likely to meet your goals! I’ve provided four simple steps to help your resolutions stick.
Step 1: Make realistic goals! Make resolutions that you know you can stick to. For example, if your goal is to live healthier, aim to exercise more frequently, and schedule two or three workout days a week instead of seven. Try replacing fatty foods with healthier options that you enjoy. This small change will help you stick to your goal, and you won’t see your diet as a form of punishment. Unhealthy habits develop over time. Thus, living healthier requires time and motivation. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.
Step 2: Share your goals! Share your short-term and long-term goals with family and friends. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.
Step 3: Don’t give up! Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs, and changing your lifestyle is a journey. Recover from your mistakes and get back on track!
Step 4: Ask for help! Accepting help from those who care about you will strengthen your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals, you may need to do some adjusting. When you ask for help, you are able to brainstorm with someone and come up with strategies for adjusting your goals so that they are attainable. This can help you change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional setbacks.
What are some other ways you have found to help your resolutions stick? Share them with us in the comments.
Wishing you a happy New Year. Good Luck! You’ve got this!