It sometimes seems like New Year's Resolutions are made just to be broken. After all, a recent study from the University of Scranton found that the success rate of these beginning-of-year resolutions is only nineteen percent after two years. So what causes people to fall off the bandwagon? Check out these tips to help make this year's goal a lasting change in your life.
1. Don't Pick Something Vague
This is extremely important. A recent survey found that the most popular New Year's resolutions are living life to the fullest, living a healthier lifestyle and losing weight. While these are admirable goals, there's just one problem: They're extremely vague, which means that it's hard for you to figure out how you're actually going to make these resolutions happen. How much weight do you want to lose? How do you want to live life to the fullest—travel, or spend more time with your family? Picking a definitive goal makes it easier for you to stay on track.
2. Make an Actual Plan to Reach This Goal
It's easy to duck out of something later if you don't make a specific plan, or "road map," for how you will work up to this goal. "Exercise more" can mean anything. Instead, say you'll attend a certain class at a certain time on Tuesday and Thursday every week. Check in a couple months later to see if you want to adjust this goal.
3. Choose a Resolution That Means A Lot to You
This might seem self explanatory, but pick a resolution that you actually want to do—not something that you feel like you should do. Write down why you have this goal, listing the benefits you'll gain in your life from doing it, and also the negatives that have happened because you haven't reached this goal.
4. Technology Can Help
Don't hesitate to use apps and technology to make it easier to stay on track. There are countless fitness apps and finance apps that will do most of the work for you.
5. Pick a Person to Keep You Accountable
Everyone has those low days when you feel like giving up. Pick a certain person in your life who believes in you to act as a cheerleader, providing much-needed motivation while you strive for your goal.
6. Be Prepared to Make Sacrifices
Remember that "losing weight" doesn't just involve eating healthier and exercising more. It also involves time and energy that you no longer can devote to watching that extra hour of TV or going out at night. Be prepared to give up certain things in your life for a goal that is well worth it.
7. If You Mess Up, Forgive Yourself and Try Again
A big reason why people give up on their resolution is because it's human nature to mess up now and then. For example, if you are a smoker, it's almost impossible to quit cold turkey. If you fall of the bandwagon, forgive yourself, then get right back up and try again.
8. Find a Friend with a Common Goal and Join Forces
It's a lot easier to stick to something if you have a source of constant motivation. Plan to take a workout class a few times a week with your girlfriend, or agree to cook dinner at home instead of eating takeout with your honey.
9. Give Yourself a Time Frame and Schedule
Rome wasn't built in a day, and most resolutions will take time and effort to achieve. Devising a specific time frame, and a schedule to follow, can help you better visualize how to eventually reach your goal. If you want to cut out TV during dinnertime, pick a date you want your family to completely stop watching TV during dinner, then create a few milestones along the way to help you reach this goal.
10. Cut Something Out, Then Add Something In
One of the hardest things about most New Year's resolutions is that you might feel like you are giving something up. Make it a more positive experience by also choosing to add something positive into your life. Maybe you've always wanted to take salsa dancing lessons or wanted to learn how to cook French cuisine—go for it. Giving yourself something new and positive to focus on will make it easier to say goodbye to old habits.