Steps to Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions
Ahhh a New Year, a fresh start! If you’re making a New Year’s Resolution, despite all those friends of yours who say they don’t do it, you’re not alone! According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans make a New Year’s Resolution.
The good news: those who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more like to attain their goals than those who don’t explicitly make resolutions. The bad news, only 8-10% are successful in achieving those resolutions.
Don’t let this news defeat you though! You can definitely be a part of that successful 10%, especially as a Rock Creek Sports Club member — we already know you know how to make a commitment!
So get out your paper and pen, and let’s break down.
How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions
1. Think it Though
Start by asking yourself a few questions:
- Why do I want to do this?
- Will it make me happier?
- Can I work toward this goal in steps?
2. Narrow it Down
Although you probably have a handful of things you’d like to achieve, it’s best to focus on main goal at a time.
Researchers gave one group of students at Stanford University, a two digit number to memorize, and another group of students, a 7-digit number and asked them both to walk down a hallway while memorizing the number. Afterward, they asked both groups if they would like a slice of cake, or some fruit salad. Those that had to memorize the 7-digit number… were TWICE as likely to choose the cake!
It’s suspected that the more you have to think about, the less likely you are to make good decisions.
3. And Narrow it Down Again…
Start small with a specific goal.
- So you want to be lose weight? OK, break that down.
- I want to lose 10 pounds. How? Exercise and eating better? OK, break that down.
- Exercise at least 4 times a week and eat more vegetables at meals. OK. Break that down.
- I will exercise on Monday, Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays. I will have at least 1 or 2 servings of vegetables for at least 2 meals a day.
Now we’re getting somewhere!
4. Create a Schedule and Keep Track
Take those days and times you want to work out, and actually put them into your schedule, the way you would with a work meeting, dentist appointment, or a birthday party, or as Oprah says — schedule yourself in! You wouldn’t skip any of the aforementioned because you just didn’t feel like it right?
Then, track your accomplishments. Keep a journal and write down your thoughts and progress on a weekly or daily basis. That way, when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, you can look back to just a couple of months ago and see how far you’ve really come along! Make sure you pat yourself on your back for all the positives, and keep in mind, that you’re not perfect and may have a bad week now and then.
5. Let Others in On Your Goals.
In most cases, when you tell friends and family about your goals, they’ll want to help you achieve them. Staying positive is much easier when you’re surrounded by positive people.
There’s some some serious biological effects too — a study in the Journal of Occupational Health found that weak social support can lead to elevated levels of heart rate and cortisol.