_ Lose weight
_ Get more organized
_ Eat healthier
_ Save more money
These are just a few of the most common New Year’s resolutions more than 40% of Americans make each January. Sure, it’s easy to commit when the New Year is a few days or weeks away and you’re still in holiday mode, poppin’ bottles, tooting noisemakers and indulging in <insert your favorite dessert here> on an almost-daily basis. But what happens come January 1? More importantly, what about January 30? Well, America. We’ve got bad news. University of Scranton research shows that only 8% of us actually keep our resolutions. Yikes. With statistics like those, it hardly seems worth trying. Should we shrug our shoulders, say “oh well” and serve ourselves another slice of chocolate cake? Hell no, reader. Hell. No. It’s always worth trying to be better, whatever that may mean to you.
- Keep it simple. Start with just one realistic resolution for 2016. If your goal is to take up running and you’ve never run a day in your life, maybe your goal is to run a 5K without stopping by April, and a 10K by the end of the year. If your big-picture goal is to eat healthier, set a goal of cutting out sodas, potato chips or whatever your guilty pleasure may be for 6 months (giving yourself one cheat day a month), and resolve to bring your own healthy lunch to work three days a week. See? Simple.
- Be specific. Lose weight, eat healthier, be more organized, save more money … these are pretty vague statements that are difficult to measure. Set tangible goals you can track, work toward and celebrate. Lose 3 pounds every month. Save $250 a month. Make the bed every day. Run 12 miles a week.
- Write it down and make a plan. Start a journal (digital or on paper) and create a plan for achieving your goal. By breaking your resolution down into smaller, achievable tasks, you’re setting yourself up for more success. Then, work your plan into your daily schedule. If your goal is to run 12 miles a week, schedule your runs at the beginning of each week. If your goal is to pack a healthy lunch 3 days a week, set aside 2 hours on Sunday for meal planning and prep.
- Find a resolution buddy. Research has found that people who shared their goals with a friend were 33% more successful than those who didn’t. You don’t necessarily need to have the same resolution, but you can follow the same process in trying to keep it. Schedule weekly calls or texts to check in with each other. If you’re both working toward the same resolutions, swap tips, recipes or workout ideas and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.
- Track your progress. Check in with yourself weekly. Build this weekly check-in into your schedule, whether it’s Wednesdays during lunch or Mondays before you roll out of bed. This is your chance to hold yourself accountable, make adjustments as needed and make sure your plan is working for you.
- Reward yourself. Every three months, treat yourself to something special, whether it’s a pedicure, spa treatment, new workout outfit or tickets to your favorite sporting event. It feels good to accomplish your goals, and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating them.
While we’ve focused on the most popular resolutions, these tips can be applied to any resolution, whether it’s getting healthier, writing a book, taking up guitar or becoming more financially responsible. And it’s never too late to start — so even if you haven’t made a resolution yet, there’s no better time like the present.