'Tis the season for New Year's Resolutions. Everyone living has probably made a resolution to stop a bad habit or begin a new habit. According to www.buisnessinsider.com, 80% of New Year's Resolutions fail by February. I suppose that this might be laughable if you are making resolutions that are not that important to you, but what about things of importance to you. What if you really need to make dietary changes or reap health problems with long reaching ramifications? If you desperately need to live with resolve in some area of your life in order to improve the quality of your life, then statistics like those listed above can be daunting. So, what can you do to improve your odds of success with resolutions?
- Set specific goals. Don't say, “In 2018 I will lose weight”. If you do not set a specific amount of weight that you want to lose, how will you know if you've attained your goal? Do not say, “I will drink more water.” Be specific and set an amount that you will drink daily. Specifics can help you feel like you've accomplished something each day, which can be a reward in itself.
- Set attainable goals. If you say you plan to lose 300 pounds in 3 months, you must be prepared for failure. The goals that you set must be attainable. Aim for something that you can easily reach, then stretch yourself a little further!
- Make it reasonable. All of our lives are fraught with busyness, ups and downs. Do not make your goals unreasonable. Have enough understanding of yourself to know that you may not be able to reach your goal in every season of life. If, for instance, you have a goal of eating more green vegetables, but you also are in the process of moving from your home to an assisted living facility and do not have immediate access to a stove during your move, make allowances & do not live with guilt of things that are beyond your control. Guilt itself can cause enough negative emotion to make the best resolve weaken under the pressure.
- Track your progress. Write your goal. Track your progress and write it down.
- Reward yourself. Each week reward yourself if you've been faithful to your goal (or even if you've reached your goal 95% of the time). Make sure the your reward doesn't cause you to stumble in your resolve. If you are trying to lower your sugar intake, your reward should not be a package of sugar cookies! Consider making your reward something that will encourage you further in your resolve.
In the end, remember that you are making the resolution for the benefit of yourself. Any progress that you make toward that goal is better than if you had not made the resolution. Rest in the knowledge that you are moving forward instead of backwards & live in hope for the new year!