New Year’s is a great starting point to make positive changes to your life, but more times than not people have already given up on their goals well before President’s Day in February. Here are some ways to successfully set up and keep your New Year’s resolutions:
1. Set SMART Goals
2 different New Year’s Resolutions that say the same thing, but one has a much better chance of yielding the results that you want:
“I’m going to start going to the gym and eat healthier.”
“I’m going to go the gym at least 3 times a week to lose 20 pounds by June, and make 4 dinners a week at home.”
The first goal is very general with no parameters. The second goal is a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-dependent) and much more manageable because it has numbers to aim for as you see yourself progressing towards your goal.
2. It takes practice and time
Studies have shown that it takes 21 days for your body to turn a goal or idea into a habit, so be patient. Just like anything else in life, it takes practice to get good at it, with the first month being the hardest; then day by day it gets better.
If your goals are fitness-related like many New Year’s resolutions, a good rule of thumb to remember is that it takes 2 months for you to notice physical change, 3 months for the rest of the world to notice, and 4 months to really start seeing the results you were after.
3. Don’t be so hard on yourself
You’re going to make mistakes. Whether it’s to stop biting your nails, stop eating fast food, or anything else, you’re going to slip up. Take that as a learning experience. Many people see that they broke their resolution and give up completely, but that is only a minor setback in what will be a positive change. Just like Vince Lombardi said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”
Sometimes you bite off more than you can chew, so it’s perfectly ok to alter your goals to make them more manageable so you can succeed.
4. Have someone keep you in-line
If you can, make your goal with your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or friend. Attacking challenges can be daunting and difficult, but they can seem more achievable if you’re not alone. You can hold each other accountable when you make a mistake and help encourage each other to not give up.
If you want to make a change to your life, then start today. Sometimes waiting until a landmark day can take away from why you really want to make this change, but make January 1st be the push you need to get going. Happy 2014 Swaggers!