The Good Life: Five ways to be more successful with New Year’s resolutions
January 13, 2018
Research shows that 80 percent of people give up on their New Year's resolutions by the second week of February.
Whether your resolutions are about losing weight, being on time to work or sticking to your budget, here are five things you can do to help you be more successful in achieving your goals.
Set Smart Goals
Often we are not successful with resolutions because we make them too complicated, too vague or we try to do too much at once. If you try to stop smoking, eat more vegetables, not watch TV and stay off Facebook all in one day, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Choose resolutions that are specific and measurable. If one of your resolutions is to "be more present" in your everyday life, that's great, but it's not specific or measurable. Ask yourself, "How will I know I have achieved this goal?"
Maybe it's when you are eating dinner as a family three times per week or staying off your phone between 6-8 p.m. Those are more specific and measurable goals.
Recommended Stories For You
You also want to choose resolutions that are attainable, realistic and timely. This means choosing goals you actually have a chance of achieving within the year. If you are single, it doesn't make sense to resolve to be married by the end of the year: This is not a realistic or timely goal and is probably not attainable either. A more attainable, realistic and timely goal might be to try online dating or go on at least two blind dates your friends set up for you.
Once you have set your resolutions, break them into even smaller, more attainable pieces rather than trying to do everything at once. If your resolution is to lose 50 pounds, ask yourself what you need to do in order to get there by the end of the year. One answer might be "eat healthier." Answers could also include eating out less and meal-prepping every Sunday. Keep working backwards from there, and your goals will start to look more achievable and less overwhelming.
This is one of the reasons Weight Watchers works so well and why you always hear people suggest finding a "workout buddy." Once the novelty and excitement of your New Year's resolution wears off, you will need someone to give you that extra push and remind you of why your goal is so important to you.
Accountability is one of the primary reasons people hire a life coach. Just like a coach on a sports team, a good life coach can help you set smart goals, hold you accountable in achieving them, help you overcome any roadblocks you encounter and be your biggest cheerleader at the finish line.
Know Your Why
Our brains are wired to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Sometimes we need to remind our brains which is which. Your brain might think a cheeseburger is pleasure and a salad is pain because the cheeseburger is the comfort zone and the salad is new. Knowing your why is about reminding your brain that looking good in a bathing suit, having more energy to play with your kids and living longer are some of the long-term pleasures associated with choosing the salad.
When you feel like giving up or giving in, remembering why you set the goal in the first place can be all the motivation you need to keep going. If your resolution is to get out of debt this year, remembering how free and empowered that will feel is probably enough to keep you from wasting money on new shoes you don't really need.
You're moving right along in your quest to lose weight. You're sticking to a strict meal plan, killing it at the gym, drinking tons of water and then you have a stressful day and find yourself on the couch eating pizza and ice cream. The voice in your head starts saying, "See, I knew you couldn't do this," and your instinct is to give up.
Instead, try telling yourself whatever you would tell a friend in this situation. Give yourself permission to be human, and get up tomorrow and start over. You wouldn't get rid of your car just because it had a flat tire, right? These little speedbumps are just flat tires on your way to success. Patch them up and go on with your drive to greatness.
— Melissa Snow is a certified life coach in northern Colorado. To suggest a topic you'd like covered, or if you'd like more information about any of the ideas you read in this column, contact her at email@example.com.