Whether the objective is to volunteer more, get healthier, or floss every night, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. While the intentions may have been good from the start, research suggests only 8 percent of us stick to them. That figure may be grim, but take solace in this: Those who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than those who don’t.
This year, be true to yourself with an honest, manageable resolution you can feel proud of achieving come December. Read on for more tips to set, maintain, and accomplish your goal.
Select One goal rather than multiple goal. Let’s face it, setting out to lose 20 pounds, cook a new meal every night, and volunteer once a week is most likely too impractical for most people’s schedules. When it comes to goal setting, it’s okay to put all your eggs in one basket: Research says* too many acts of willpower at once can actually impair future attempts of accomplishing set goals. Choose one resolution to devote your time, energy, and willpower.
Set a realistic goal. At the same time; make sure your resolution is realistic. Just as too many goals can be overwhelming, so can a lofty resolution. Switching to a more inspiring career or getting out of debt are both great goals, but they may take longer than one year to achieve. Start with a more manageable goal, in this case, meet with a financial advisor to set a long-term plan, put together a rainy-day fund to invest in each month. It’s all about taking the right steps rather than setting the bar too high and abandoning your goal.
Break the goal into clear, reasonable chunks. If your resolution is to complete a marathon, make sure to strategize. Plan out a training schedule and add on miles gradually. Find a fitness accountability partner. Download a fitness app like Map My Run to record your progress and the food you eat. Think this way for any type of goal, not just running. Want to be a better friend in 2015? That’s a great goal, but it’s not crystal clear. You could break down the resolution into monthly focuses such as, be a better listener, be more truthful, and show up to more get-togethers.
Tell someone. Support—and accountability—from friends and family can increase the odds of resolution success. Tell a friend, family member, or coworker your intentions. Close friends will most likely be honest with you if you start to veer from the path you set out on. Better yet, a confidant may join in on the resolution too. If you plan to carpool more, put together a monthly plan with your coworker so you’re both in it together. If you’d like to eat more meals at home, have your family help pick the menu and dates ahead of time so they know which nights to be home.
Overcome moments of weakness. One slip up doesn’t mean it’s over. While **daily practice does increase overall success rates, one day or one week off the wagon isn’t reason to beat yourself up. Move beyond the hiatus and pick your resolution right back up again.
Research can give us some clues to successful goal keeping, but remember: Resolutions aren’t a science. Take it day by day and do what it true to you. So tell us, what is your realistic New Years Resolution for 2015?
*Self-Control Relies on Glucose as a Limited Energy Source: Willpower Is More Than a Metaphor. Texas A&M, Florida State University. http://www.fed.cuhk.edu.hk/~lchang/material/Evolutionary/Brain/Self-control%20relies%20on%20glucose%20as%20a%20limited%20energy%20source%20willpower%20Is%20more%20than%20a%20metaphor.pdf
**Does Practice Really Make Perfect? Rice University http://news.rice.edu/2014/07/16/does-practice-really-make-perfect-2/