Approximately 40-45% of adult Americans make a New Year’s resolution each year. We are in our second week of January and at this time only 71% of Americans who have made a resolution are still on target to achieve that goal according to a study done by the Journal of Clinical Psychology. As time marches on, many more hopefuls will find it harder to keep their resolution. The Wall Street Journal has offered their readers a helping-hand in achieving their goals by publishing a cliff notes version of how to stay on track:
- Take one step at a time. It is important to set goals that are realistic. It is better to break a large goal down into smaller steps. If your goal is to lose weight you should first decided whether or not you would like to start with your diet or your exercise. Once you have gotten the first step going and found a place for it in your routine, you may add the next one. If you set a goal that is too far from reach you may become discouraged and quit.
- Get a little help from your friends. Consider it to be positive peer pressure because checking in with friends who are also trying to achieve their resolution can be instrumental in achieving your own. Whether it is a support system or a group that you would not like to be left out of, it will always help.
- Change your environment. It is proven that altering your surrounding can be a catalyst for change. Try surrounding yourself with like minded people. If you are hoping to lose weight surround yourself with those who are dedicated to diet and exercise. Aside from the obvious absence of temptations, perhaps you can absorb some of their positive energy through osmosis.
- Announce your intentions. Many people find it hardest to break their resolution when more people know about it. People often find that tracking or recording your individual or collective progress can also be a strong motivator as well. Visualizing how far you have come will help motivate you the remaining distance to your finish line. Make a plan that is drafted out on paper and keep an ongoing list of your accomplishments.
- Figure out your attachment to bad habits. If you do not find substitutions for bad habits you are replacing them with nothing. If you are trying to quit smoking, consider why you are smoking in the first place. If for instance you smoke as a result of stress, you will need to find a more appropriate substitution for this problem that still very much exists. Perhaps exercising would be a healthier solution for ridding yourself of nervous energy.
- Expect setbacks. It is inevitable for you, or anyone for that matter, to have some slip ups. Do not beat yourself up too harshly for it and do not use it as an excuse to quit. The difference between the people who reach their goals and those who do not is simple. It is not because those who reached it had it smooth sailing but rather when there were bumps in the road they kept going.
If you have made a new year’s resolution it means that you have been able to identify a problem about yourself that you would like to fix. If you thought you were happy with the person you were before, you will be amazed with how great you’ll feel after. Not only will you be one step closer to perfection but you will also have become a man or woman of your word.