New year, new you. Many people make resolutions as we move into the new year – eat better, workout more, lose weight, read more books, get outside more, etc. The average person only sticks with their resolution for 36 days! Only 8% of people report fulfilling their resolutions. Why are we so bad at resolutions?
There are a few reasons why people can’t commit to their goals – not enough motivation, poor support system, not planning properly, etc.
Assuming you are motivated enough, here are some tips to help you become more successful in sticking with your resolutions.
1. Write down your resolution.
A study by Dr. Gail Matthews revealed that people were 42% more likely to achieve their goals by writing them down on a daily basis. You could write these on a whiteboard at work, on the fridge, or even on your calendar or journal.
Try making your goals SMART:
Specific -- Who, what, where, when, why, how
Measurable -- This is how you know when you have reached your goal
Achievable -- Be realistic with regard to financial barriers and what is possible
Relevant -- Make a meaningful goal that will make an impact
Time-based -- You need a deadline (6 months, 1 year, etc.)
You have a support system – use it. Tell your friends, family, and co-workers about your goals. This adds a layer of accountability and you can receive advice from people who may have tried similar changes to their lifestyle.
The easiest way to stick with a new goal is to plan out the steps. If you have a timeframe, you can set the end goal and reverse engineer steps along the way. For example, if you want to be able to run 12 miles in the next 6 months, then you can assume that you need to be able to increase your running endurance by 2 miles each month.
Using a planner specifically for your goal can be very helpful. You can track your progress and write notes in it as a journal. Set reminders to work on your resolution each week. Have a weekly meeting with yourself to make sure you are staying on track and progressing appropriately. Know that there will be times when you fall off track, but have a plan to get back on track.
4. Remember that dedication is greater than motivation.
The difference between the two is that dedication requires action. Motivation is internally driven. There will be times when you feel less motivated. That is when you really must stay dedicated. Even when you don’t want to, you should make the right choice – cook a healthy meal instead of ordering pizza, go to the gym on a Friday night, or go for a run even though it’s cold and rainy.