For the average American who has embarked on New Year's Resolutions, statistics for success are not on their side. Less than 10% ultimately achieve their resolutions, with the bulk of the fallout happening during that first month after starting. Within a week, over 25% have failed, and over half have failed by six months, according to 2017 Statstic Brain Research data.
Fortunately, with just a few simple changes in thinking, you can take control of your own fate and don't have to just be another statistic.
Review, Then Restart Your Resolutions
If you feel you've slipped or completely failed at your goals for the New Year, don't fret. The right time is right now to take a moment and try these simple steps that can help reboot your efforts.
Take an Inventory of Where You've Been: If you've stumbled with your New Year's Resolutions, it will be tough to simply pick up where you left off without looking back at what you've done since you started. Awareness, though unpleasant, may be the key to not repeating the same mistakes. Even better, it helps to write them out.
Accept Any Failures and Forgive Yourself: Once you've identified where you've made a misstep, it's now important to realize you're in good company with many other humans with the same struggles! Work on truly forgiving yourself. Pretend you are motivating a friend and engage in some important "self-motivation" with positive talk to yourself.
Make Adjustments: Determine what types of things lead to any failures you identified. Perhaps your goals were too aggressive? Did you set yourself up to fail?
Next, you'll want to remind yourself of the parts you genuinely enjoy about your efforts. Also, ensure that you're focused on the process of enjoying the journey and learning experience more than just focusing on an end result.
Read more steps on recommitting to your resolutions at Care2.com.
Change the Way You Measure Achievement
New Year's Resolutions usually mean we target long-term transformations that can be daunting. At some point, we're bound to fail at several of the milestones, and likely we're set up to fail frequently. It is possible to stick to the same goals, however, all while making progress with a cycle of 'wins' instead of losses, by measuring differently.
Try looking at building new habits as 'actions per day' with small success on top of small success.
Here's how it works:
It is common to stress too much about an individual decision or milestone. It may be much more helpful to look at total actions taken over the course of a month. A big new exercise (running a half marathon) or weight loss goal can be daunting, but the set of actions needed to get there are not, when taken individually.
Here are some examples of "actions per day" you can use to measure success:
- "I weighed myself today" would count as an action.
- "I ate a salad as my side instead of french fries" is another action.
- "I joined a gym" would also be an action.
- "I bought new running shoes" is also an action!
While the steps seem minor, they are often a key part of ultimate success and begin a cycle of new habits that are different from old ones. Eventually, you can make slight increases (after joining a gym, I went to the gym, etc.) and keep racking up actions day after day. Our WonderSlim diet and exercise programs are designed around daily checklist/milestones, like these and can be an excellent way to start building these new types of healthy habits in a structured way.
Read more about the concept of "actions per day" at NerdFitness.com
Learn What Has Worked for Others
Since we know that plenty of people have been successful, looking at the common activities of these groups and advice of doctors who see thousands of patients can be a useful guide.
Below are a few common things that doctors say work for their patients:
- Focusing on two resolutions is the sweet spot (not more or less), especially if they are related (such as diet and exercise).
- Developing a specific action plan prior to starting.
- Letting others know that you are undertaking your resolution.
- Setting realistic goals that are attainable.
- Set resolutions for the right reasons, making sure they are intrinsic (wanting to feel better throughout the day) vs. extrinsic (wanting to look good at the beach).
Read more excellent patient feedback and other suggestions like this at medscape.com.