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How To Actually Keep Your Resolutions This Year

New year, new you? The new year often feels like a fresh start and a great opportunity to change bad habits and establish new routines, but unfortunately, more than half of all resolutions fail. This year, stop the cycle by learning how to identify the right resolution to improve your life, create a plan on how to reach it, and become part of the small group of people that successfully achieve their goal.

Here are 5 tips that will help you to beat the odds: 

Make Your Goal S.M.A.R.T. 


Often our new year's resolutions are too vague and unrealistic. SMART is an acronym that you can use to guide your goal setting. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

  Example: To help add more physical activity to my daily routine, I will walk on my treadmill for 20 minutes for at least three days per week starting tomorrow. 

One Goal At a Time. 


If you’re like most of us, you’re full of starry-eyed hope and determination to accomplish a raft of new year resolutions, but keep in mind that you're more likely to accomplish your goal if you focus your energy on just one. Establishing new behavioral patterns takes time and sustained effort so don’t spread yourself too thin this year. 

Small Steps = Big Changes. 


Goal-setting and resolutions are typically more of a marathon than a sprint. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up when your resolution is something big, such as losing 50 pounds, finding your dream job, or traveling around the world. Break down your goal into smaller steps to make it easier to stick to! For example: If your goal is to run a marathon, start out by going for a jog two or three times a week. Slowly, work up to longer runs and exercising more days per week. Keep a journal on hand so that you’re able to track your progress. Give yourself credit for every small step you take and reward yourself along the way. 

Embrace the Buddy System. 


Although cliché, one of the biggest mistakes people make when setting any goal is trying to achieve them alone. Having a solid support system WORKS and can help you stay motivated and accountable throughout your journey. Tell your close friends or family about your goals and ask them to assist you in achieving them, you may even find that they have the same or similar goals as you! Consider joining a Facebook group that is aligned with your goals for extra support. 

Remember Your Why. 


Perhaps most important for your ongoing motivation is to remember your overall purpose. Finding your why and deciding upon it is an activity that will take some time and dedication. Set aside a quiet moment for this exercise and return to it if necessary. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, maybe your “why” is to be able to play with your kids for a longer period of time, to feel better overall, and to get off your high blood pressure medication. Make a list, and keep it where you can see it everyday such as on your desk or on your fridge. 

Setting a new year’s resolution doesn't have to be an annual disappointment. Sometimes, the difference between success and failure comes down to choosing the right goal and the right plan you will use to go about achieving it. Most importantly, remember to be kind and flexible with yourself and to celebrate any and all progress along the way! 


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