It feels like just weeks ago, we were ringing in the new year and making resolutions to do better in 2017. Now that the champagne bottles have been carted off, confetti has all been swept up, and you’ve gotten back into your normal post-holiday groove, late January is usually the time people start to fall off their New Year’s resolution wagon.
According to a recent study of 1,500 people from across America: if you make a New Year’s resolution, you are ten times more likely to achieve your goals than people who do not. So, if you did swear 2017 was the year to lose weight, save money, quit smoking or travel more, you are already at least 10 steps ahead of your friends and neighbors who did not.
But here’s the bad news: The same study found that just 42 percent of New Year’s resolutions make it through the first month. Only 38 percent of people in their twenties achieve their resolution within a year and only 16 percent of those in their fifties have any success.
Rather than throw up your hands in frustration, here are a couple of ideas on how to put yourself in the group of people who do make their resolutions stick.
Make sure it’s achievable
Personalize your resolution so that it is specific to you. Don’t say you want to lose 20 pounds just because it seems like an often-repeated goal. Talk to one of our physicians here at North Sunflower Medical Center and find out what the right target weight for you should be. Your resolution needs to be realistic for you, and something you can control.
If you want to travel more, don’t wait. Book the trip. Don’t wait till after the Super Bowl party to start your diet. Start now, even if you have to take a day off here and there. Don’t wait till after your holiday credit card bill is paid off to make a new budget. The sooner you start, the less likely you are to lose focus and never get started at all.
Make a plan, follow it, and adjust it occasionally
If you want to save money, start by identifying places you can cut back reasonably and create a budget you can follow. If you want to quit smoking, there are lots of resources available to you to help you learn from other people that have successfully kicked the habit – and many of them are free. This is another area where talking with someone here at North Sunflower’s Behavioral Health clinic can help you out. Call (662) 756-1786. And if you hit a slow patch, don’t give up. Adjust your plan or modify your goals to something that is more attainable.
Measure your results
Many people who are successful losing weight do so by measuring and documenting everything. Make a food diary of everything you eat. And be honest with yourself. Weigh regularly. That can give you motivation to keep it up, or reinforce where you need to do better than you did the day or week before. Keep a picture on the wall of what you are saving for, and a spreadsheet of how much you have saved to get there.
Give yourself rewards
When you reach milestones, give yourself a pat on the back. Spend (a little bit) of the money you’ve been saving. When you hit a marker, eat something that isn’t necessarily on the diet (in small portions, of course). Don’t completely fall off the wagon, just treat yourself every once in awhile to something you deserve.
Doing something is always better when doing it with friends. They can help provide the support and incentive to stay with it through the tough days in February and reach the milestones you are more likely to see in April or May.
Lastly, use positive language when you talk about your resolution. You are not taking away things you are going to miss. You are opening opportunities to be your absolute best self. Whether it is health, or money, or education, or experiences, you are taking positive strides to accomplish a goal of enjoying your life. By maintaining positivity about your progress, you place yourself in position to be among the top 10 percent of American who feel they were successful in achieving their resolution.