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How To Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

December 31, 2014

New Year’s Resolutions get a bad rap for being way too short lived. We come up with all these great ideas and then maybe follow through for a month. Fast forward three months down the road and we’re like, “I don’t even remember my resolutions.” Fortunately, there are more effective ways to keep your resolutions than just ‘trying harder’ (and no doubt, winding up disappointed again). Here are my top tips for keeping your goals throughout the year.

new-years-resolution

 

1) Think of them as 2015 goals and not New Year’s Resolutions. If you want them to last the whole year, psychologically set yourself up to think of them as yearlong…rather than relating them to a specific time.

2) Keep things realistic. You probably can’t finish college, stop smoking, lose 40 pounds, get a new job, and a promotion all in one year. Keep things simple and hone your focus on just one or two goals.

3) Make it specific. If you’re goal is ‘to feel better in 2015’ or ‘to get more organized’ get specific. HOW are you planning on doing that. WHY do you want to do it? If you don’t have any motives or an action plan, then your goal is going to bite the dust. Try turning ‘I want to feel better in 2015’ to ‘I want to feel physically better in 2015 by getting 8 hours of sleep at night so I can perform better at my job and get a promotion’. ‘I want to get more organized’ can turn into something like this, ‘I want to get more organized in 2015 by filing important papers immediately after I finish with them so I can avoid the stress of searching through paper stacks.’ Whatever it is, you get the point.

4) Make sub-goals. Okay, that’s technically a word…but you know where I’m going with this. Now that you have your overarching goal, decide what you’re going to do each month to make it happen. Say your goal is ‘to lose 40 lbs by the end of the year, in order to have more energy around your kids and promote better health’ (notice how different that is from ‘I want to lose weight this year’?) First decide what you need to lose per month (around 3.3lbs or 11,550 calories) and then do some research about how you’re going to get there. Maybe you cut out soda (one 100 calorie drink a day results in 2800 calories in a month!) Maybe you can find an activity you enjoy that doesn’t feel like exercise (you can burn 200 calories just taking the dog for a walk). However you decide to do it, track your progress every week, month, etc. Taking a big goal and breaking it down monthly (or even weekly) will make it seem less daunting and will increase your chances of sticking with it.

5) Tell someone. Get an accountability partner who can help you keep your goals. That could be anyone from a spouse, to a gym buddy, to a counselor. Just make sure that it is someone who values your goals and genuinely wants to help you achieve your  best. It’s a lot harder to skip on your diet, pick up that next cigarette, or slack off in the gym when someone is either there with you or asking you about it later.

6) Don’t let setbacks stop you. Just because you eat an entire cake on your diet or sneak a cigarette doesn’t mean your whole goal is worthless. Identify what went wrong and decide how you can avoid making the same mistake again. Maybe you need more cheat meals to keep you from binge eating on cravings, or maybe you tried to scale back smoking too quickly. There’s so much inspiration and free help on the internet nowadays, there’s no excuse to not seek it out and then continue strong.

You’ve made it this far, now get started! Make some goals, find a partner in crime, and get churning! I also recommend writing your goal somewhere you’ll see it everyday. There’s a reason ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a saying.

Happy New Years!

xoxo, Bucky

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