When it comes to setting goals for the New Year, studies show that while many people start the year with good intentions, most resolutions are destined to fail. It’s estimated that only eight percent of resolutions will be seen through to completion.
The problem is –that resolutions are incredibly easy to make, but far more difficult to follow through with. Most people are simply unprepared for the amount of work that their new goals will require, and as a result, their resolutions fizzle out all too soon.
The good news, though, is that there are some things that you can do to help increase your chances of success. What’s the secret? Establishing clear expectations up front –and developing a process that will help you to banish obstacles. With this in mind, let’s look at three things that you can do to create resolutions –that stick.
- Be Clear
First of all, establish realistic expectations. Don’t assume that your new fitness plan will be a breeze –or that you’ll notice results right away. The fact is that anything that’s worth accomplishing requires work –and lots of it. While you might have it all planned out in your head, writing down your goals is the best place to start. This allows you to set clear objectives that you’ll have for reference. Don’t be vague –“get fit” is too indefinite, and leaves no clear destination. Instead, look to establish clear objectives like, “lose 10 pounds,” or “to be able to bench-press my own bodyweight,” –which are far more concrete.
- Start Small
Sure, you might have big plans –but it’s more important to remember that resolutions are more about a change in mindset than anything else –and that starts by taking steps, however small, in the right direction.
“Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” advises psychologist Lynn Bufka, Ph.D. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”
- Plan for Challenges
Finally, mitigate problems before they start by making a list of two or three major challenges that are likely to arise, and could derail your resolution. For example, being able to get up extra early may be a challenge for many would-be gym-goers. Planning for potential problems will allow you to develop strategies to work around the issues, so that when they arise, you’ll already have a solution in mind. If you foresee 4am starts as a problem, consider fitting in quick 20-minute trips to the gym after work instead.
Finally, remember to be kind to yourself. There will be days where you’ll stumble. You might miss a day at the gym or blow your health plan by having too many sweets –but instead of beating yourself up about it, or throwing in towel –just get back on track and continue to push forward. Everyone has their ups and downs –staying the course is what matters most.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Stay motivated –share yours with us!