Be honest, did you make New year’s resolutions this year that you have yet to stick to? If so, you’re not alone. Researchers have found that typically 77% of people are only able to keep their resolutions for 1 week, 64% keep them for one month, 50% for 3 months, and only 19% are able to keep their resolutions for over one year! (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11920693)
Setting new personal goals (whatever time of the year we establish them) can be a powerful and rewarding endeavor. In my experience people are typically most satisfied with life when they are moving forward and making some type of growth/progress in some areas of life-so resolutions can be an invigorating way to start a new year. But sometimes despite our best efforts it can seem near impossible to lose that weight, stop smoking, learn a new language, or whatever your personal goals happen to be.
If you’re feeling guilty for not being able to stick with your resolutions, here are some ways to help you stay true to them:
Be Sure They are Doable
Many people set themselves up for failure when setting unrealistic goals. For example-if your resolution is to lose 50 pounds by summer, that may not be realistic for your personal situation.
Picking a resolution that is personal to and achievable by you, and creating a plan to get there, greatly enhances your chances at success.
Take Baby Steps
For instance: if your resolution is to exercise more, making an initial plan to work out for two hours per day and 7 days per week may be too ambitious to start with. If you haven’t exercised consistently for a while your body will likely not be able to handle that level of activity-you may feel pain and want to give up. It may be more productive in long run to start with smaller immediate goals (i.e., working out twice a week for 30 minutes) and then setting larger goals as you progress on the smaller initial steps (i.e.: increasing to 3 times per week for an hour, and so on).
Tackle One Resolution at a Time
Perhaps you have multiple resolutions that you’d like to work on. It is a great thing to have many things that you’d like to learn and grow on that you are excited about. However-attempting to work on too many new things at once may cause you to feel overwhelmed and lose motivation.
Your best bet is to prioritize and tackle one goal at a time. Is your health at risk? If so, that would likely be a good priority. Will learning a new language help you get that job promotion? Then maybe that should be on top of the list. Once you feel that you have a handle on one goal and have made some progress, then you can consider adding another resolution to your “to-do” list.
You may also want to ask for support from friends and family. Accepting help from those who care is one great way to make sure you stick to your goals. Also, consider seeking help from a trained therapist. Mental health professionals can offer powerful tools that can help you uncover obstacles, where they came from, and tools to help you overcome them.
If you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to discuss how I may be able to help you stick to your resolutions and move your life forward.