Maybe you’ve been making resolutions for a decade’s worth of new years, or this is the first year you’re jumping on the self-improvement bandwagon. Either way, you’re in good company. Almost half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, proving we’re very good at wanting to be our best selves. Unfortunately, we’re also commitment shy – most of us abandon our goals by Valentine’s Day and only 8% crush their resolutions before the next New Year’s Eve rolls around.
The secret to sticking with it after the holiday decorations have come down isn’t really a secret. What successful resolution keepers actually have in common is a common sense approach to setting and pursuing goals. And that’s great news! You don’t need an iron will to make your resolutions stick. Making a few small changes to how you think about self-improvement is all it takes. Here’s what you need to do:
Make your resolutions ULTRA specific.
Don’t just vow to save more money this year, vow to save $1,000. If your resolution is to “eat healthy” you’re doomed to fail, but resolve to eat two fruits and two vegetables every day and you have a better than average chance of being in that 8%. Too busy to stop at your local farmers market for produce every week? Companies such as Gary’s Organic, The FruitGuys, and Boxed Greens all deliver organic produce to your door nationwide. No excuses!
Be realistic and don’t shoot for the moon (yet).
Running a marathon in 2016 is definitely doable, but if you’ve never even used your running shoes, resolving to complete something similar to Couch to 5K first makes more sense. The best part is that knocking down one goal will make it easier to get pumped for whatever comes next.
Expect to stumble along the way.
The most common reason resolution-makers fail is the very human tendency to treat a small slip-up like a major failure. When you don’t meet your daily goal, remind yourself that tomorrow is another day with just as much potential.
Tap into the power of peer pressure.
Have a friend whose New Year’s resolutions look a lot like yours? Then partner up, because it’s harder to let down a friend than it is to let yourself down. Tackle your resolutions together!
Perhaps the post-holiday slump month, cold, dark and dreary as it is, really isn’t the best time to pursue personal goals, but it’s tradition! If you go easy on yourself, keep your eyes on sweet success, give yourself cheat days and stay motivated, you will make it to Valentine’s Day without breaking your resolutions. And once you’ve made it that far, there’s no reason you can’t go all the way!
Today’s post is written by Samantha Rivers, a freelance writer who lives in Chicago (Go Cubs!)
and loves writing anything in the lifestyle, beauty, travel, and career realm both online and print.
She also runs Upward Onward, sharing uplifting & informative stories about real life. Follow her on Twitter!