Eight savvy tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions

December 13, 2017 Providence Health Team
his is the year that you’ll stick to those New Year’s resolutions with these tips and tricks for pursuing your goals over time.

Millions of people set New Year’s resolutions with the best intentions, but only eight percent actually achieve them. We write down our goals and hit the ground running on January 1st. For the first few weeks, we keep our goals in mind and do our best to complete them.

As the weeks pass, however, our excitement wanes. Decreased enthusiasm might be because we don’t see any results from our hours at the gym. Or maybe we’re frustrated because we’ve been eating a healthy diet, but the scale hasn’t budged. Whatever the case, it can be hard to pursue our goals over time.

Why don’t more people achieve their New Year’s resolutions?

Whether you get discouraged by lack of results or lose interest altogether, it’s not uncommon to break a New Year’s resolution. To stay on course, you need to set benchmarks throughout the year. Setting monthly or quarterly milestones and measuring your progress each day provides positive reinforcement to keep your momentum going.

Studies show setting goals, as well as trying to achieve them, is good for both your physical and mental health. Why? Well, something very interesting happens when we set goals: the brain can’t tell the difference between what we want and what we have, so it establishes our goal as an essential part of who we are. Once we stop working toward a goal, our newly attained self-identity doesn’t match our reality, leaving us with feelings of tension or guilt. Our brain naturally wants to resolve these uncomfortable feelings, so we need to help our brain stay on track by creating milestones that help us remain motivated and positive.

Eight savvy tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions

Learn how you can stay motivated, improve your productivity and keep on track to achieve your goals in the New Year:

  1. Do it for yourself
    Don’t set goals that other people think you should set. Approach your goals as if you have one year left to live, then make them a priority. Think about how you’d like to spend your time. Live well, and do things you love and that make you feel good.
  2. Be specific
    Two mistakes many people make with their resolutions are setting too many goals or setting goals that are too broad or too big. Instead of setting a goal to get in shape, set a goal to lose 10 pounds, run two miles a day or stop snacking after 9 p.m.
  3. Set SMART goals
    The best goals are SMART goals. They are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.
  4. Work on one goal at a time
    When you’re focused on too many goals at once, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or feel like a failure before you even get started. Focusing on one goal at a time helps you stay motivated and positive.
  5. Make charts/lists
    Doesn’t it feel good to check things off as you achieve them? When you make a New Year’s resolution chart, you can visualize and measure your progress, which helps keep you motivated. If you can measure it, you can change it.
  6. Make it a priority
    Don’t get caught in the trap of believing you don’t have enough time to reach your goals. Any effort toward your goal is better than none. Whether you have five minutes or 50, it’s important that you make time and stay motivated to get it done.
  7. Be accountable
    When you talk about your goals with friends and family, you are more likely to work toward them and achieve them. If you are having trouble motivating yourself, find a buddy. When you are accountable to someone else, you are more likely to follow through on your goals.
  8. Be patient
    Patience is a bit of a lost art in this day and age. However, it’s important to be patient and remind yourself that while initial progress may be slow, there will be a breakthrough if you keep pushing toward your goal. Focus on the process, rather than the result.

Six quirky tips for helping you achieve your New Year’s resolutions

  1. Move your alarm clock
    Set yourself up for success from the moment you wake up in the morning. If you are a habitual snoozer, move your alarm clock far away from your bed. That way you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
  2. Read inspirational quotes
    Ok, don’t just read them, write them on Post-It notes and stick them on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator and steering wheel. Stick them everywhere you might need a little reminder to boost your spirits or refocus your day.
  3. Socialize
    Yes, really. Not only is socializing the perfect stress reliever, but it can also help refresh your mind, regain focus and get you back to work on your goals.
  4. Set your phone or watch alarm
    If your goal is to think more positive thoughts, set the alarm on your phone and every time it goes off, think of something you’re thankful for. Even better, write down what you’re thankful for in a notebook and see how it adds up!
  5. Meditate
    The power of your mind is astounding. When you pair it with a mindful meditation practice, you increase your ability to create the life you truly desire.
  6. Reward yourself
    When you reach a milestone, take time to celebrate and reward yourself. Just make sure your reward doesn’t negate your hard work. So, maybe don’t celebrate a weight loss milestone with a king size chocolate bar.

We hope these tips and tricks help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions in 2018. We wish you a safe, healthy, joyous holiday and happy New Year! And remember, never give up.

You got this.

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