With all of the anticipations of a new year come the intentions we set to improve ourselves — and, for most of us, the inevitable falling away of said intentions. As popular as making resolutions may be, reports indicate that they’re more popular to make than to achieve; a 2015 report from U.S. News & World Report indicated that 80 percent of resolutions fail. Why? A 2016 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that while resolutions are often set to reach rewards we receive down the road (i.e.-losing weight through exercise), when rewards are immediate, we are more likely to work for them. Consider this as you set your resolutions, and take stock of the following tips to see them through to fruition.
BREAK IT DOWN
Worthwhile resolutions rarely produce overnight results; commitments to losing weight and saving more money take time. To keep yourself motivated, break down your larger goal into smaller ones with immediate rewards that can serve as markers on your journey. Want to add an extra $5,000 to your savings this year? Set a goal of saving $104 at the end of each week, and with each week that passes, you are hitting your mark. This way, you will be more likely to commit to your goal, and more encouraged the closer you get to achieving it.
Being specific when committing to a resolution increases the likelihood of success. A resolution to live healthier will be successful if you get very specific: instead of resolving to be healthy, resolve to take 3 yoga classes a week, eat one salad a day and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Instead of attempting to overhaul your diet in one go, gradually replace your normal foods with more nutritional ones. For instance, switch your morning bagel out for a smoothie one week. The next week, incorporate a salad into your lunch and so on until your diet is full of healthy foods.
DON’T BE SHY
Sharing your resolution with others generates support for your pursuit, which can motivate you if you hit a rough patch. Share your journey with your friends, family and co-workers, write about it on your social media of choice and update regularly. Be honest when you are faltering — you’ll be amazed at the amount of support, insight and advice you will receive, which may be just what you need to keep going.
Just as it’s important to be patient, it’s equally so to recognize there will be setbacks. The road to improvement is rarely smooth, and persisting through shortfalls will be, in the end, what gets you there. Life itself will find a way to throw you off course; if you have resolved to save a specific amount of money, an emergency expense such as a home repair or a health issue will hinder your ability to meet your monthly savings goal. Don’t be discouraged; instead, commit to getting back on track in time to meet your next benchmark.
By Renee Franklin