New Year's Resolutions: Making it a Habit
Year over year we hear people making New Year's Resolutions and then several weeks or a month later ditch them for a multitude of reasons. It is estimated that almost half of American Adults make a resolution and by summer nearly none of those people are still on track. So how can we make our New Year's resolutions stick? Make habits not resolutions!
Habits are easy to create if you follow two things: Make it Simple and Start Small. Making minor changes to our routines than can be sustained are more likely to work than making life altering changes that potentially disrupt multiple areas of life - work, family, food, etc. Often times a tiny habit will have a ripple effect - so small initial changes will lead to bigger changes and reaching the goals you set. It's also important to understand that different people respond differently to changes - some people are better researching what they want and setting really small goals. For example, if someone wanted to set a goal to make healthier lunch choices. Someone may start by going on Pinterest or Youtube to find healthy lunch options or ways to pack lunches, Another person may set weekly meal plan, yet another person may choose to make lunches 1-2 days a week or eat out less. Whatever the process, making a plan and starting small is the way to create a habit.
Quick Tips for Managing a Resolution/Starting a new Habit
1. Start Small and manageable
Make sure your goal is attainable - otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure and creating unrealistic expectations of yourself. Some examples: Eat healthy 1x per week more than you currently do, walk 5 or 10 minutes- 2 times a week, pick a corner to organize vs. a whole room, save $5 per week, etc. Once you have the first step down and it's routine, then you can increase the frequency or duration.
Take times to think about your goals and how you plan for them to improve your life. This is the start of a great plan! Now, figure out how you will deal with the temptation of giving up on yourself or skipping the things you planned. Plan for the unplanned as well - life throws us curve balls and be okay with some flexibility and understanding for yourself, but don't give up when that happens.
3. Share with others
Don't keep your goals a secret from the people who want to see your succeed and support you. Having the support system behind you creates some accountability but also gives you a place to go for help when you are feeling stuck or alone in your progress. We all need cheerleaders in our life - so telling others provides that opportunity.
4. Track Progress
Write it down and mark your progress so you can see it! The more senses you engage the more likely you are to continue to follow through with your goals.
5. Reward Yourself
When you meet your goal - reward yourself!