Many of us spend January 1st making resolutions and the other 364 days trying to stay resolved to keeping them. In fact, only 8% of people successfully achieve their resolutions, according to research from the University of Scranton. So here are the top 10 tips for making resolutions, and more importantly, keeping them!
1. Set short-term goals for long-term results.
People who break their resolutions into small, manageable chunks typically have more success. Say your goal is to save money. Rather than making a resolution to save $5,000 this year, try to save $100 a week. It’s almost the same amount of money (a little more actually), yet the goal is easier to keep. You’re able to measure your progress along the way and all you have to think about is that $100 each week, not that insurmountable $5,000.
2. Make your resolution about the journey, not the outcome.
There’s a better guarantee of success if you stick to resolutions that you actually have control over. Want to lose 15 pounds? Well, sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine is more important than the number on the scale. And you can’t force those pounds off. So, stick to a resolution like I will go to the gym 5 days a week and I will fill half my plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. These are things you have control over and they will help you reach your ultimate goal of weight loss.
3. Schedule time for your resolution.
We are all so busy, it’s hard to find time to do the things we want to do, let alone the resolutions that challenge us. So, schedule gym sessions into your calendar just like you would a meeting or a dance recital. I’ve even set an alert on my phone that goes off 30 minutes before I’d like to go to the gym. When I feel like skipping my workout, sometimes that beep-beep gives me the extra kick out the door I needed.
4. Employ the buddy system.
Everything is better with a friend, including resolutions and it can be more than just a walking buddy. Want to start saving money on groceries? Challenge a friend. Plan meals around the store ad, clip coupons and then compare receipts and see who saved the highest percentage.
5. State your goals.
Tell people about your resolutions. People who explicitly state their goals are more likely to keep them. It’s social accountability. And with social networks at your fingertips, it’s possible to tell a whole bunch of people. So send your goals out into the universe and you’ll be more likely to keep them than if they were just a half-baked idea in your head.
6. Keep Records.
Tracking your progress is a good way to stay accountable and keep the resolution fresh in your mind. If your goal is to read more, Goodreads.com has a Reading Challenge. You set a goal for the number of books you want to read this year and it will track your stats towards that goal. You can also compare your progress to others who’ve taken the challenge.
7. Get an app.
There is an app that can help with every resolution. Noom not only tracks your diet, exercise and task completion but coaches you through the process towards weight loss. Mint will help with your personal finances by tracking spending by category and keeping you on budget.
8. Celebrate little victories.
You deserve it! Just make sure the rewards you choose don’t work against your goal (i.e. heading on a shopping spree because you managed to save $100 this month). Think of a way you can treat yourself like taking a long, relaxing bubble bath every week you reach your saving’s goal. It’s a positive reward that will actually help make a healthier, happier you.
9. Reassess your resolutions.
If something is not working, then it’s okay to go back and modify your resolution. Resolutions are all about becoming a better version of your self, not a perfect version of your self. If you’re not able to save $100 a week, oh well! Knock it down to $75 and keep trying. That’s still $3,900 saved by the end of the year and that’s something to be proud of.
10. Don’t give up so easily.
Too often people throw in the towel on resolutions because of one slip up. So what, you had a moment of weakness and ate a box of donuts. It happens! If weight loss were that easy, it wouldn’t be the number one resolution, year after year. Often, we use small slip ups as an excuse to give up on big goals. Forgive yourself, move on and keep trying. It is the truly tenacious who make up that 8%!
Jeanette Pavini is a two-time Emmy Award winning on-camera consumer and investigative reporter who has produced over 8,500 news stories. She is currently an on-camera contributor to The Better Show, Hallmark Home & Family, the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and USA Today’s video network. In addition to her other roles as a documentarian, columnist and author, Jeanette is the official spokesperson for Coupons.com.