How to Make (and Keep) New Year’s Resolutions
It’s that time of year. Let’s talk about New Year’s Resolutions. What would you like to improve in 2023? We all have something we would like to change. Will you resolve to lose weight, focus more time on family, exercise more, not stress over the little things? Maybe these resolutions sound familiar…like last year and maybe the year before?
Creating these types of goals can be a way to stabilize our personal growth — or — it can feel like an overwhelming way to put pressure on yourself not to fail…again. When done in a realistic way, creating resolutions can be a good, productive way to set goals and intentions for the new year and beyond. Deciding to make positive changes, like ditching a bad habit and adopting a healthier one, is always a good idea — one you should see through to the end. But this will take time and energy.
According to Behavioral Psychologist James Clear, it takes, on average, more than two months for a new habit to become automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person and the circumstances. If you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life!
So…what are our resolutions worth? And how can we continue nudging ourselves in the right direction? Are there steps we can take to assist in creating long-lasting change?
What are your most audacious goals? Do you want to lose 50 pounds, run a marathon, commit to reading 12 books in the new year? What do you REALLY want to see change? With perseverance, encouragement and support, you can do it!
NOW THINK SMALL.
Small, consistent steps can move you towards your ultimate goal. Want to lose weight? Break your main goal down into smaller, attainable goals. Week 1, two pounds. By February 1st, 6 pounds. Give yourself a realistic timeline to meet these smaller goals. Have your eye on that marathon? Start with one mile, then two and so on. Check out apps that were specifically created to help you train for this specific activity. Ultimately, give yourself small items that you can check off while you are working towards your main goal, and celebrate yourself every time you hit that mark. This will help you stay motivated.
Make yourself accountable through promises to people you don’t want to let down. This commitment can help you get through the tough days when you may feel like giving up. A VERY courageous individual may create a Facebook page devoted to her goals for weight loss. You can make a less public promise to your partner or child, a teacher, doctor, boss or friends. Want more support? Ask you family, friends and followers to offer motivation along the way.
LEARN FROM THE PAST.
If you have tried before and failed, try to think about why you weren’t successful and learn from it. Were you sincere in your commitment? Was the challenge too big? Can you scale back to a more reasonable challenge or break it into more attainable steps? You know what didn’t work before, so how can you adjust that for success?
Set your sights on finishing that marathon, not on running it. With exercise — and so many other goals we set — you’ll benefit even when doing less than you’d ideally LIKE to do. Any activity is always better than none. If your goal for today is a 30-minute workout, but you only squeeze in 10 minutes, feel grateful for that. It’s enough. Just keep going.
Set your goals and give yourself grace. But know even if you don’t keep every resolution, the act of making them and striving toward them will have positive effects for you and for others.