We’re halfway into January now and the holiday hoopla has finally been put to rest. This means it’s time to pause and take inventory of how your 2017 has been going so far. Have you been making all of those changes that you said you’d make this year? Are you sticking to your diet health, and fitness goals? How are you doing with your New Years resolutions?
As December rolls to an end, people typically start to get vocal about all the goals they are going to adhere to in the coming month. It’s estimated that at least 40% of Americans make New Years resolutions on an annual basis. But a huge portion of the population quickly abandons these objectives. According to University of Scranton research, only 8% of Americans actually achieve their resolutions at all. But don’t let the statistics deter you! Resolutions are definitely attainable, especially if you do them right.
Here are some expert tips on how to stick with your resolutions and make 2017 your best year yet:
- Don’t give up because you lost your battle with perfection: Many people live by the “all or nothing” mentality. And once they fail to live up to their ideals of perfection, they quickly say “screw it” and abandon their entire plan. So for instance, if your goal was to go to the gym every day in 2017 and by January 11th, you’ve already missed 3 days, then you might want to throw in the towel. But it’s important to realize that making it to the gym “every single day” might not be realistic for you. We as humans are not perfect. There are days when we aren’t going to feel up to throwing on our running shoes, hopping in the car, and braving the crowds at the gym. And on other days, we’ll have to stay late at work or something will come up that will have to take priority over a workout. So if you miss a day, you miss a day. Aim to do better tomorrow and keep moving forward.
- Set realistic goals: In order to make sure that you can actually accomplish your resolution, refrain from setting your sights on something that is too overwhelming. “Don’t pledge to spend 25 hours a week in the gym if you never work out. Set a realistic goal and then when you reach it aim for another,” says ESME Fitness Founder, Marika Lindholm.
- Keep your eye on the future: “Set your sights on what great things will happen after you achieve your goals,” says Steve Farber, a motivational speaker that was recently named one of Inc.’s Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts. “Once you have that clarity, line up your resources, skills, and training accordingly. Hone your chops. Study what you need to study. And be as mentally prepared as you can to take advantage of the new opportunities that achieving your resolution will create.”
- Remember that it’s the journey that leads to the destination: “In my opinion, resolutions should be considered a process, something you’re working towards,” says fitness expert Sara Haley. If I could rename them, I’d call them New Year’s Action Plans. I’ve put my action plan to paper this year, listing three goals with steps for how to achieve each one,” she adds.
- Wrangle a support system: One surefire way to meet your 2017 goals is to enlist others to help hold you accountable. “Friends, family members and online communities can be tremendous sources of support so let those around you know what you are trying to achieve,” says Dr. John Agwunobi, Chief Health & Nutrition Officer for Herbalife. “Many of our members have had success with weight loss or bettering their nutritional habit because of the support of the community,” he explains. “Some of our members host workouts at nearby parks, which is great, because it becomes a network of support, which will help you achieve your health and life style goals.”
- Prioritize: If your list of resolutions is fairly long, you might want to prioritize them and tackle a few of the easier ones first. This can help to give you the confidence that you can, in fact, achieve what you’ve set out to do.
- Remind yourself: Put encouraging post-it notes and messages on your bathroom mirror and your refrigerator. These messages serve as little reminders that put your resolution front and center. If you’re more digial savvy, try an app or web-based goal tracker, like GoalsonTrack, which will send you daily reminders about the tasks that you need to achieve.
- Honor someone: Lindholm says that if you dedicate your resolution to someone, then it will make you much more likely to see it through. “Say, ‘I vow to stop smoking for my children’ or make the resolution in someone’s memory,” she explains. “Assigning more meaning to the resolution will make it more difficult to break.”
- Visualize your desired outcome: Self-fulfilling prophesies are powerful. Psychology shows that if you expect to fail, you will and if you visualize and expect success, it’s far more likely to happen. Studies show that your subconscious programs your brain to start opening your awareness to resources that are already around you to resolve the conflict. Start each day by telling yourself that you can and will stick to your resolution!
- Forgive yourself: Last but not least, when making resolutions, it’s especially important that you go easy on yourself. To err is human and stumbles are inevitable. Just because you ate that piece of cake or drank a glass of wine doesn’t mean your resolution is over. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead get back on the horse and start again. Tomorrow is a brand new day with a squeaky clean slate.