As New Year’s Day approaches, we often find ourselves making the same New Year’s resolutions this year as last. Why? Because we never did manage to make last year’s resolutions stick! Here are some tips to help you make resolutions you can achieve in 2017:
- Lighten your burden in the new year. It can be tempting to write up a huge list of resolutions filled with everything you want to do in 2017. But testing your willpower like that can actually backfire. Instead, choose one to three things you want to change, whether that’s getting more exercise or calling a loved one more often. It’s much easier to achieve real change when you can focus your attention on just a few actions.
- List specific goals instead of general ones. General goals like “lose weight” or “eat healthier” aren’t specific enough about how you’ll need to change your behavior. Instead, resolve to do things like “eat a portion-controlled lunch every day” and “work out twice a week.” Now you have specific behaviors you can reward every day.
- Reward yourself. Speaking of rewards, find ways to reward yourself for behavioral changes. If attending a fitness class or getting back to church was on your list, reward yourself with something you enjoy. That could be as simple as taking a long bubble bath after your workout or buying a ticket to a much-anticipated movie or theater performance at the end of the week.
- Prepare for failure. It may seem counterproductive to prepare to fail at sticking to your list, but if you prepare for setbacks, then you can also plan how you’ll get back on track. When you find yourself slipping up, refer back to your plan – and don’t beat yourself up about the bump in the road.
- Start now. It can be tempting to double down on bad habits over the holidays by telling yourself that you’ll change your behavior in a few days, after New Year’s. But the truth is you are the same person now that you will be in 2017. There’s no better time to get started on being a better version of yourself than today!