Finish Strong – Revisiting Your New Year’s Resolutions
Research shows that as many as 50% of adults in the Unites States make New Year’s resolutions, but fewer than 10% keep them for more than a few months. So what happens? Why do we make them? Why do we break them?
We make them because it’s human nature to want to do better. Why do we break them?
The Cost of Changing
Old habits are hard to change! Many habits are automatic, some offer comfort. It takes discipline, energy and the right mindset to make the change. Sometimes we don’t consider the “cost” of change.
Specific outcome isn’t realized. Weight loss versus healthier choices, more stamina, better sleep and other benefits. If the scale isn’t going down – the positive lifestyle changes aren’t seen as “worth it.”
Purpose or your “why” hasn’t been defined. You need to own your “why.” It’s about what you want – not someone else wants. Your “why/motivation” will be helpful during the tough times.
Be honest with yourself about two questions:
What are you willing to do? What are you NOT willing to do?
The 3 R’s of Successful Resolutions
- Is the goal you made still important to you?
- Is the goal realistic given your other responsibilities?
- Do you have a compelling “why”/motivation for the change?
Some goals set us up for failure.
- Too much too soon. No exercise to a goal of five days at the gym.
- Too rigid. 100% of the time. I’m either on the diet or not. Strive for progress, not perfection.
- Too vague: Use SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time oriented).
But also consider:
- Who is responsible for the goal?
- How will your goal be accomplished?
- Does your goal need to be broken down into smaller more achievable goals?
- Have you achieved the goal in the past?
- What did you learn from that experience? (What did you like? What did you not like?)
How does your goal align with your life? How will you hold yourself accountable? Will you get help in that area from your physician, coworkers and friends, health coach or manager or someone else?
- Write out the resolution/goal.
- Break it into small steps. For example if weight loss is your goal, identify one habit you can change each month and focus just on changing that habit for 30 days. In the second month, set a new goal and so on. By the end of the year – you’ll have six healthy habits to feel good about!
- Post your resolution/goal in place where you see it daily.
- Build relationships with people who have similar goals.
- Share the resolution with someone you trust – an accountability partner.
- Measure your success – daily, weekly, monthly.
- Evaluate your progress. What do I do well? Where can I improve? Is there something I need to learn more about?
Identifying what is important to you, evaluating your why, setting realistic goals, writing out your goal, being accountable and surrounding yourself with like-minded people will help you finish strong.
By Diane Thovson, Well-Being Health Coach