Make a Resolution that Stays

Every year 50% of Americans make New Year Resolutions according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, but how many of those resolutions actually get carried out? If this is your first year making a resolution make sure it is something realistic and you set a timeframe. If this isn’t your first time, take a second to think about your resolution last year, if you can even remember it. Did you accomplish it? If you did not complete it think about why you did not achieve it. This year, besides making S.M.A.R.T goals, think of what got you off track from last year’s resolution.

To begin, lets discuss what a S.M.A.R.T. goal is. It is making a goal that is specific, measurable, accountable, realistic and timely. Choosing a resolution such as I’m going to exercise more and lose 30 lbs this year is not a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Choose smaller goals like I will lose 4 lbs a month or go to the gym 3-4 times a week. When you make larger, unspecified goals you increase your chance of losing motivation and failing.

If you have made resolutions in the past think about the type of resolution you made and compare it to a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Did it fit the guideline? If it did, why were you not able to achieve it and how can you have modified it to become more successful. When making a goal for the year first ask yourself why you want to make the goal. Most people make goals to work out more or lose weight but why do you want to do these things. To be successful, relate these items to your personal ideals. Such as, I want to become more active to help lower my cholesterol levels or I want to lose weight to help reduce the pain in my knees. Make the resolution yours. Once you have your goals, review them weekly or monthly. Don’t forget life happens and sometimes things aren’t as ideal as they were on that magical January first date. Unexpected things may come your way and that should be addressed. Just because your life gets crazy does not mean you should abandoned your goals. Just re-evaluate them as things get thrown your way. Resolutions are a way to help motivate you to make changes, but the goal alone won’t do the job. You need to be mentally ready to make the changes you put forth for yourself or you are most likely setting yourself up for disaster.

Changing numbers on the calendar can bring people motivation to make changes. People sense a clean slate and a time to leave bad habits in the past. This is a good time to reflect on the past and make changes you want to make for the year. However, remember they are changes you want to make for the year and it may not happen over night. So don’t get discouraged if you have a bad week or a bad month, everyday is a chance to begin again. Make your goals personal for more motivation and never forget why you made that a goal to begin with. Remember you do have what it takes to make that resolution a habit, it just takes focus.

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