New Year, New You: Tips for Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolution

New Year, New You: Tips for Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolution

A new year, a new you, right?  Or like others, have you already forgotten about your New Year’s resolutions?  If you’re having a hard time sticking to your goals, you may be looking at them too broadly. With some of the most popular resolutions being to lose weight, quit smoking, get fit, eat healthier, manage your stress or debt, or drink less, it no wonder these vague goals are not met.  In fact, only 9% of the individuals who actually set a New Year’s resolution will be successful.  If you are finding yourself dipping your toe into that pool of unsuccessfulness, read on for ways to succeed at keeping your new year’s resolution and the commitment you made to yourself.

Choose a Single Priority

Instead of choosing a number of goals you would like to accomplish in 2015, choose just one to start.  If you want to lose weight, get fit, and eat healthier, while these go hand-in-hand, starting with one will help you more successfully reach your goal.  Don’t shock your system by forcing yourself to jump on the treadmill for a 3-mile run at the gym AND cut out chocolate!  Choose the goal you think is the most important to start with and turn it into a habit.  When it becomes second nature, you are ready to introduce your next goal.

Start Small

If your goal is to eat healthy, try to start introducing healthier foods into your diet.  Throwing out all the food in your cupboard and not allowing yourself to indulge is the quickest way to set yourself up for failure.  When you slowly start to introduce a new habit, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming and, therefore, seems more doable.  So instead of jumping off your couch and heading to the gym for a couple of hours, start with a 30-minute walk and work your way up to a jog.

Think SMART

Now that you have a single goal and are ready to start small, it’s time to think SMART.  SMART goals involve figuring out what you need to do to get where you want to go.  Once you have a goal in mind, turn your attention to developing action steps that will enable you to successfully complete your main objective.

S: Be Specific. Saying you want to lose weight, managing your stress, or drinking less is pretty broad.  When your goal lacks necessary detail, you are likely to not accomplish it.  What does losing weight and drinking less actually mean to you?  Do you want to lose 10 pounds or only have one glass a red wine with dinner?  Get specific by figuring out all the details.

M: Make it Measurable.  To best manage your goals, make them measurable.  Instead of declaring that you want to get fit, include a deadline.  You can measure whether or not you are able to run 6 miles by the end of the summer, but you cannot measure “getting fit.”

A: Is it Achievable?  Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unattainable goals.  Women and men on magazine covers are photoshopped so you will never look like Cameron Diaz, Taylor Swift, or Channing Tatum but you can become a healthier version of yourself.  If your goal isn’t focused on losing weight but you smoke 2 packs a day and are thinking about quitting cold turkey, it may be best to slowly start reducing your nicotine intake; try starting with only smoking a pack and half.

R: Realistic.  Achievable and realistic goals cannot be teased apart.  Make sure you goal is realistic for you.  It’s important to be honest with yourself when setting a goal.  If you haven’t ran in years, it’s not likely you will be running the Colfax Marathon this coming spring.

T: Timely.  What’s your deadline?  Setting a deadline will give you structure and the motivation to get started, while also helping you monitor your progress.  Again be realistic about your deadline so you aren’t setting yourself up to fail.  Hey, maybe you will be able to run a marathon in 2016.

You’ve already taken the first step to improving yourself by simply setting your goal.  Now, to stick with it, remember to start small with a single goal.  When you have your goal in mind, make it SMART.  Developing specific, measurable goals with a deadline gives you more motivation to achieve the commitment you made to become the best version of you in 2015.

Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in their relationship. She also helps couples rebuild happiness together so they can have the fulfilling relationship with their partner they’ve always wanted.

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