Sticking to a Sticky New Year’s Resolution
First of all, keep in mind that just because January is coming to a close doesn’t mean that it is too late to make a New Year’s resolution. It is never too late to make a positive lifestyle change!
It may not surprise you to learn that only 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. Of those, only 9.2% actually felt successful in achieving their resolution. For those of you who have already decided on a 2017 resolution, here are some tips on how to stick it out. For those who haven’t, consider these tips as a way to set yourself up for success with or without resolutions during these next eleven months.
Set achievable goals for yourself.
- Small, monthly resolutions are less intimidating and easier to manage. It’s important to set short-term, achievable goals for yourself in order to stay motivated throughout the year.
- Avoid absolutes, such as “I will never eat sweets,” or “I will always go to the gym.” These kinds of goals are very difficult to stick to and particularly discouraging if you slip up.
Work your willpower.
- Most people think willpower is finite; you have this much of it and if you don’t use it then it goes unused. However, willpower is actually more like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Exercise your willpower a little bit every day and you’ll see how much easier it gets to stick to that pesky resolution.
Lift your spirits.
- When you’re feeling discouraged about your resolution, try watching a funny video, like this one. This study shows how taking the time to watch a funny video actually increases self-control and productivity. WebMD has also run experiments on the effect your mood, even a bad mood, can have on your self-control. Their study showed how either end of the mood spectrum, nasty or nice, increases willpower and motivation.
Track your successes.
- Of course, there will be moments of discouragement. The key to overcoming this is by reminding yourself how much you’ve accomplished in the past. Write down everything you’re proud of, right down to “I get out of bed when I don’t want to.” With all your achievements listed on paper, you’ll see how much willpower you really have.
- You can use this printable to keep track of your goals and successes
- Post a picture of your goal on your fridge to remind yourself of your goal. Studies have also shown that people who write their goals down on paper are more likely to achieve their goals than those who make mental vows.
Know when you’re out of juice.
- Don’t give up, but don’t make it tougher than it needs to be. Don’t put yourself in stressful situations where you’re forced to exercise that willpower. Know when you’ve had enough, and get away from the temptation until you’ve had a good night’s rest and a healthy snack.