Oh, right… I made some New Year’s resolutions…
Well, this is embarrassing! It looks like I told my friends and family on January 1 that I was going to start exercising and eating healthier, as per the custom of New Year’s resolutions. Excuse me while I finish this bag of chips (chomp, chomp).
Okay, done! Where were we? Oh, yeah… resolutions.
Does this sound familiar? Caught up in the spirit of a new year and the promise of a fresh start, we all make some bold and not-so-bold claims about how we’re going to change–and then we don’t. Like, at all.
A rigorous study conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton shows that about three-quarters of people who make New Year’s resolutions keep them for the first full week, about half of people kept them for the first month, and only about a third of people kept them after a full six months into the year.
In fact, January 17 is officially “Ditch Your Resolution” Day because of this phenomenon. So, how do you actually stick to those resolutions and make meaningful change occur in your life this year?
Here are some strategies. First, change those grand, sweeping resolutions into more manageable goals. For instance, if your resolutions look like “lose 200 pounds” or “triple my income,” they’re probably so far out of the realm of realism that they’re just not easy to work toward. Instead, try losing three pounds per month or going after a modest raise at work. Similarly, keep your total resolutions down to a manageable number, such as three.
Another important factor in sticking to your resolutions is that you connect those goals to actual changes in behavior on a day-to-day basis. Turn them into action items and to-do’s–and then do them! For instance, if you want to make more money on the job, what are you doing substantially differently every day to earn the raise you want?
Lastly, take missed milestones or setbacks as a challenge, not a reason to throw in the towel. Life can definitely get in the way, but that doesn’t mean a small mistake has to derail you completely. As long as you don’t give up, you’re bound to get a lot closer to those goals you set for yourself!
Now, excuse me while I go get a smaller bag of chips. Hey, these things take time!