If you’re thinking about making resolutions once the calendar turns to 2018, you’re certainly not alone.
But figuring out how to follow through on your new year’s resolutions is easier said than done. Only 8 percent of Americans who make bright and shiny new year’s resolutions succeed in them. Apparently, the other 92 percent find determining how to follow through on your new year’s resolutions hard. Take weight loss, one of the most common new year’s goals. Many people join a gym early in the year, but six weeks later, 80 percent of them quit.
Wondering how to follow through on your new year’s resolutions, then? We’ve got eight steps for you below.
1. Pick One Objective
New year’s resolutions are such a part of our culture that you may have an entire page of them. All the things you’d like for a new you! That’s great, but you need to focus on one thing. Say that your goal is climbing the Himalayas, for example, but you’re not that proficient in rock climbing yet. An objective like that can only be achieved by a number of smaller goals. You need to get experienced in rock climbing. You need some high altitude experience. You need to purchase equipment and price the trip. Just set one objective for the new year.
2. Set a Realistic Goal
No matter what your new year’s resolution is, you need to be realistic about the endpoint. Perhaps your resolution for 2018 is spending less and saving more, for example. You need to be realistic about how much you can save while still meeting all your lifestyle needs. If your income is limited, you may need to get a higher salaried job before you save more. Be sure your resolution is not a daydream, but achievable.
3. Make a Plan
Make a plan to ensure your success. If you want to lose weight, for instance, get rid of all the higher calorie foods around. Not during the holidays, necessarily. But you need to set a date by which you’ll eat up the mocha fudge ice cream. Then, buy the healthy food you’ll need. Don’t sabotage yourself by not having a plan to fulfill your goals.
4. Move in Increments
Every goal is achieved through increments. Weight loss happens pound by pound. Savings happen dollar by dollar. Expect to move in increments. Make your initial goal a small set of increments — five pounds, say, or $5.00. That way, you’ll have a victory early on, rather than feeling like you’re slogging toward an ultimate goal of 50 pounds or $500.
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Having someone there to continually motivate and encourage you is half the battle. We got you.
5. Celebrate Small Victories
For each increment you set up, celebrate! When you’ve lost five pounds, reward yourself in some way. When you’ve saved $5.00, reward yourself. Think through meaningful rewards that could not torpedo the resolutions. That is, don’t reward yourself with food if you’re trying to lose weight or buy something if you’re trying to save.
6. Expect Backsliding
Maybe the most pernicious time for New Year’s resolutions is the first time you don’t act in accordance with them in 2018. Losing weight, and then you eat chocolate cake. Saving more, and then you binge while online shopping. The key part of sticking with the resolutions is to keep on even when you’ve blown it. Don’t think “blown it.” Think “tomorrow is another day to start again.” The fact is, if your resolution was easy, you would have already done it.
7. Remind Yourself of the Benefits
Set up a system that will remind you of why you wanted to do this. Was your goal to lose weight for swimsuit season, for example, or a vacation? Did you want to save for a down payment on a house or for retirement? Think through the reason. Then set up a system to remind yourself. Selfies of yourself at a lower weight juxtaposed with current weight is one method. Pictures of a house or charts of your savings account might be another.
8. Get Accountability Buddies
As time goes by and the shininess of New Year’s resolutions wear off, it can be harder to maintain the progress toward them. Get some accountability buddies to talk to when the going gets tough. People who want the same goals you do can be great to talk to about progress. Either connect with some friends who also have these resolutions or scout around online for some forums.
If keeping your new year’s resolutions were easy, everyone would do it. In fact, only 8 percent of Americans do. They flounder because they make goals that are too ambitious, don’t have a plan and get discouraged when the inevitable backsliding starts. You need to face those challenges to keep going on your resolutions. Remind yourself of what you want this goal and get people to be accountable to.
These eight steps will make it easier. Good luck!
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