5 tools to a successful New Year’s resolution

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Photo by Laura Fox

New Year’s resolutions are a popular tradition in our society, though few people achieve them unless they have the right tools to be successful.

According to betterment.com, about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. About 25 percent of those who do create resolutions do not make it past the first week and only about eight percent are successful in achieving them at all.

When coming up with our resolution ideas, we often overestimate what we would be able to handle, which leads us to feel overwhelmed and give up entirely on our goals.

When planning goals we are thinking in the future but when looking at them in the present it is much more difficult. It is kind of like grocery shopping when you’re hungry wehn you want to get everything rather than when you have a list and can think rationally.

But it can be possible to achieve your resolutions if you have the tools to do so.

1. Break it down

Instead of trying to tackle an intimidating goal all at once, try to break it down into smaller steps.

Say your resolution is to lose 40 pounds within the year, which can be a lot to swallow all at once. It is a lot easier to think in smaller amounts like going on a walk for 15 minutes every day and eating healthy.

2. Substitute “good” for “bad”

It is incredibly difficult to completely abandon a habit that you want to change without something to put in its place.

Using the same weight loss example, you would probably find it really hard to just give up all the junk food that you normally eat. An easier way would be to have healthy snacks on hand for when you would typically grab something unhealthy.

3. Use peer pressure to your advantage

In a lot of ways peer pressure works just as well for adults as it does for teenagers and children. When we have someone checking up on us our success rate tends to be higher than if we depend on self-determination alone.

Even better is when others have similar goals and can form a team. The cliché term “strength in numbers” really does help more often than not.

Going back to the weight loss example, if you had a few friends who also had a goal related to fitness then you could find a time where all of you could go on a walk or go to the gym together as a support team.

4. Keep track of your progress

This will help you to be able to see how far you have come since you started your goal. It will help you see how much success you have had and what steps you need to take to continue on the right path.

“Approximately 83% of human learning occurs visually,” according to osha.gov, so it would be helpful for you to keep your record in a place where you can see it often.

Using the weight loss example, placing tally marks for every pound you lose could be placed on the fridge or pantry so you could see it every time you went to break your diet plan could come in handy.

5. Be consistent and do not give up

Whether you have a daily, weekly or monthly goal keep it consistent to help your brain develop that routine.

It is not easy to change something, especially things that have developed into an old habit, so it is very likely that it will take a number of mistakes in the plan before becoming completely successful. Come up with a plan for the times that you slip up so you already know what to do when the time comes.

Continuing the weight loss example, if you miss a day of exercising or eat that candy bar then pick up from where you left off and move on.

New Year’s resolutions can be accomplished if you stick to your goal and do what you need to do to be successful.

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