You do it every year. You make a list of all the things you want to change, update, start, or finish in the new year. New Year’s resolutions usually start strong, then wane through January, maybe into February, and then you give up. It just doesn’t work.
But why? Why doesn’t it work?
Don’t beat yourself up. A lot of people have this problem.
Is your goal your idea?
Before you embark on a new exercise program, try to quit smoking, start a new diet, or learn a new skill, you really should decide whose idea it is. Are you doing it for someone else or for yourself? You can succeed either way, but I suggest you’ll do better if it’s your idea. Your willpower and commitment are stronger when it’s something you want to do.
Once you’ve decided what it is you want, it’s time to decide how to go about achieving it.
Set attainable goals
Many people make the mistake of setting a goal that’s too big or simply unattainable. Saying you want to lose 50 lbs. in two weeks, for example, is ridiculous (not to mention very unhealthy, even if you could do it). Rather, think about setting long-term goals and some short-term goals. If you want to lose 50 lbs., that’s great; make it a long-term goal. Then, create a series of short-term goals that will help you get there. For example, you could make it a goal to eat only a set number of calories per day, to exercise two or three days a week (and increase it later), or to lose 2 lbs. per week. Talk to your doctor about your plans to avoid problems. By giving yourself realistic goals, you are far more likely to achieve them.
Commit to your goal
If you doubt your resolve, buddy up with a friend who has the same goal. This has worked for me in the past, maybe it will for you. Sometimes a little peer pressure does wonders. You can encourage each other to maintain your motivation.
So go ahead—make your resolutions! Choose long-term and short-term goals. Write them down. Track your progress. Later on, you can look back and see where you started to mark how far you’ve come.
What works for you?
Leave a comment if you have other ideas about how to ensure success with your New Year’s resolutions.
Here’s to your success in 2013!