If you think you’re the only one with challenges keeping their new year’s resolutions, we have some news for you. According to recent data, about 60% of all people in the US make resolutions at or around the new year. Of that number, only 9% actually accomplish them. 23% quit within the first week, and 43% make it to mid-February.
So if you feel like making new year’s resolutions is a recipe for failure, welcome to the club! But as a species, we tend to be optimistic. We’re constantly searching for actionable solutions to our biggest problems and willing to put the work in to try and try again.
That being said, there are a few tricks you can follow that work for some people—and we’ve got ‘em right here!
How to Make Resolutions that Stick
For a new year’s resolution to have staying power, they need to have these qualities:
1. They need to be specific
Instead of saying, I want to lose weight, set a specific goal. Instead, say you want to lose 10 pounds. Ideally, you’ll also want to put a timeline on it. Timelines make your progress measurable, giving you something to gauge progress. Progress is motivating!
2. They must be achievable
Don’t set goals that are too lofty. There is nothing wrong with thinking big, but the problem is that you will give up when you can’t reach your goal. For example, if you’ve never run a marathon and that’s your goal, it will take a while to train and get your endurance up. Let’s say, instead, “I resolve to become an avid runner.” Then all your training and progress counts for something. Maybe next year, you’ll do a quarter-marathon, and then? Who knows where you’ll go!
3. They should matter
Your resolutions should have meaning to you—and not just because of any sense of self-doubt or feelings of responsibility to what others expect of you. Think about what matters to you, how you can change yourself for the better, and who you can invite into your life to support your efforts. Now that’s a resolution worth the effort!
How Incremental Changes Make Big Impacts
When we make new year’s resolutions, much of the thought is based on transformation on some level. Whether it’s about improving your health, making more time for the people you love, or quitting a bad habit, small steps eventually add up to massive strides.
Think about making smaller, bite-sized resolutions and resolve to put it on a loop. For example, let’s say you’re trying to get fit, but you’ve never exercised before. Try starting with a brisk five-minute walk every day and bump it up a couple of minutes each week. By the end of the year, you’ll be stronger, more energetic, and happier, and you won’t have had to spend money on a gym membership or a personal trainer to achieve your goals. It’s all in the way you frame it.
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