Five Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions
Are you spending this week contemplating what you want to do differently in 2016? If so, you’re not alone. Though most people make at least one resolution, a measly eight percent manage to bring these resolutions to fruition.
Life is a march toward betterment, and one of the primary goals of therapy is helping you achieve your dreams. If you’ve long struggled to remain committed to a specific resolution, therapy could help you finally make progress. But first, consider trying these key resolution-saving steps.
Set Specific Goals
Most people set goals that are so amorphous you won’t even know when you’ve achieved them! “Lose weight,” “Be nicer,” and “Make more friends” all sound good in theory, but can mean vastly different things at different times. Make your goal clear and specific. Don’t resolve to lose weight; commit to losing 10 pounds. Don’t commit to being a better parent. Promise yourself you’ll spend an hour of quality time with your children each evening.
Break Your Goals Into Manageable Steps
Resolutions are supposed to be hard. Otherwise they wouldn’t be worth achieving! When life gets stressful or you experience self-doubt, you can expect that your resolutions will be the first item on the chopping block. Prevent this by breaking your goals down into smaller, more manageable steps. This way you don’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of losing weight or making more friends. Instead, you have only to reach a small, specific goal. Fail to achieve it, and all is not lost; you can just try again next week.
The ideal resolution can be broken down into monthly, weekly, and daily steps. For instance, if you wish to lose weight, you might commit to giving up processed foods this month and potato chips this week. On a daily basis, you might aim to replace one food item with something healthier.
Don’t Aim Too High
Most of us have been told to follow our dreams and aim high for our entire lives. When it comes to resolution-making, though, this is distinctly poor advice. Your goals should be realistic. After all, when you achieve a realistic resolution, you can always go back and add something more challenging. But goals that are unlikely to be achieved—such as losing 150 pounds in a year or publishing a novel despite no experience as a writer—can set you up for failure, which can sap your motivation.
Track Your Progress
You won’t know you’re making progress if you don’t track your steps toward your goals. Keep a log of the actions you take each week or month to achieve your goals, and watch your successes slowly accumulate. This log can serve as motivation when you get overwhelmed, and will also hold you accountable if you get sidetracked on your march toward the best year yet.
Human beings are social animals who are more likely to thrive when they feel a supportive sense of community. This is why support groups are so effective at helping people lose weight, quit drinking, and achieve other challenging goals. Support group isn’t your thing? Then recruit a friend or loved one to work toward a resolution together. Alternatively, consider an online support group, which offers complete privacy, but constant access to support.