After the holiday festivities that bring together friends and family, it’s time to get rid of the tree, put the menorah away for another year and plan for the upcoming year. Part of preparing for the upcoming year is reflecting on the year that just passed, deciding what will be renewed in the upcoming year, and coming up with those seemingly-impossibly-to-keep resolutions.
Resolutions Get A Bad Rap
According to a University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology article published earlier this month, about 45% of Americans make resolutions at the start of each year, with 85% of those resolutions revolving around self-improvement or weight loss. While many of those who make resolutions maintain them through the first month or so, only 40-46% are still actively working towards their goals after six months.
Resolution season might just be getting a bad rap. While desiring to create a better, healthier lifestyle free of whatever is preventing optimal health is a great way to start a New Year fresh, many people go into their resolutions setting themselves up for failure, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, there are three main reasons why people fail : their goals are too big or two much at once; they don’t engage with an active and encouraging support system; and they forget the reasons why the goal was so important in the first place. So how can a person set the odds in their favor and become part of the half who succeeds in their new goals?
Setting Yourself Up For Success
Start by taking time to really dig in deep about what change is desired and why that change is so appealing. If you are coming up with a resolution, but don’t really feel an urge behind the change, you won’t be diligent in sticking with it when the going gets tough. Be realistic with your expectations and stick with the three or four goals that matter the most as opposed to trying to battle twelve at once. Trying to drastically change every aspect of your life is extremely dramatic and can be very overwhelming, which can lead to stress, insecurity and even failure. When you have a few targeted goals, it is easier to focus on really committing to them and achieving success.
Create a plan that is clear and concise. If you use overly broad statements like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get more sleep,” instead of “I want to lose 20 pounds by my vacation in April” or “I’m going to get into bed by 9 pm on at least three nights each week,” you aren’t giving yourself direction or a goal to keep in mind. Keep them attainable, realistic, time-sensitive, and rewarding. Develop the how. Break up your goal into a step-by-step action plan that you will actually enjoy completing. By giving yourself guidance in advance, you are creating a path that will be easier to follow as opposed to simply winging it.
Focus on Sticking, Not Slipping
Prepare for slip-ups and combat them before they arise. Make it easy for yourself. Even though the gym 10 minutes away might be cheaper than the gym up the street, the lack of convenience might keep you from going. Choose physical activity that you enjoy. If you hate the treadmill, try yoga. If a Downward Dog doesn’t thrill you, try boot camp. There are so many different options to choose from that there is sure to be something that excites you. Even the most prepared person is going to face challenges. Whether it’s on January 5th, or you make it all the way to July before it happens, at some point, you are going to hit a wall or make a slip. That’s ok. The key is re-motivating yourself and trying again.
Tell everyone and anyone who will listen about your resolution. By surrounding yourself with those who have your best interests in mind, the tough stuff will be easier to push through because you will have people who are ready and willing to push you forward. Furthermore, if you are using a buddy, you can keep each other motivated and feed off of each other.
By keeping in mind why you are resolving to change and using these steps, success is very possible. Making a change, no matter how big or small, is never an easy process. Expect discomfort, especially at first, but keep with it. It is the changes you stick with and fight for that become a rewarding lifestyle instead of a passing phase.
What are your New Year resolutions? Share your resolutions with @NewLatina and @FitLatina via Twitter, or in the comments below!
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