“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” –Carl Bard
As the New Year begins, so does a new bombardment of New Year’s resolution tips and suggestions. People with the best of intentions unwittingly end up setting themselves up for failure. Here is the truth about New Year’s resolutions according to research from the University of Scranton and John Norcross, who published research in the Journal of Clinical Psychology:
- 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions
- Less than 8% achieve their New Year’s goals
- The most common reason resolutions are abandoned is that the goals were unrealistic to start
Armed with that knowledge, here are some real-life tips on how to incorporate goals starting today:
- You do not need a specific day of the year to make a change to empower yourself. Any day, any time, any second is the right time to make positive changes in your life.
- Focus on what you should do instead of what you should not. For example, let’s say that you are trying to lose weight and cut processed foods out of your diet. Instead of telling yourself “No processed foods,” think “My goal is to eat a diet based on whole, real food.” Staying in a positive state of mind will help you stay on track rather than dwell on your restrictions.
- If you “break” a resolution, do not let that give you an excuse to go into a downward spiral. Pick yourself up and keep going.
- Remember that losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint. Try to take one meal at a time, one day at a time. Setting small goals (and achieving them!) will seem more doable and give you more opportunities to give yourself a pat on the back for achieving them. Enjoy your successes, however small. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds, celebrate your loss one pound at a time.
- Making a commitment to eating well should be a lifestyle change that you enjoy. If you are beating up on yourself for making a mistake, you will most likely associate negative feelings with your lifestyle changes. Again, keep it positive.
- Be specific about your goals. “I am going to lose weight in 2016” is not a clear goal. However, “I am going to lose 10 pounds” is clear and concise. According to Norcross, “We say if you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution because vague goals beget vague resolutions.”