It is safe to conclude that a number of us make New Year’s resolutions, but very few of us keep them. A Forbes article reports only 8 % of those who make them actually keep them. You don’t need another reason to be hard on yourself in 2014, so let’s break down your resolution and look at how to keep it.
A Times article reported that the ten most commonly broken new years resolutions are: Lose weight and get fit, quit smoking, learn something new, eat healthier and diet, get out of debt and save money, spend more time with family, travel to new places, be less stressed, volunteer, and drink less.
Is there pressure to make a resolution? Are resolutions a mere epiphany statement? Why do we find it so difficult to carry out goals for only 12 months? Any time you make a goal, it is important that you have the right tools and mindset to follow through with it. Check out the following ideas:
1. Goals need to be measurable. This will be different for each goal. In the example of losing weight, how much weight? in how much time? how will you keep up with it? You need to devise a very specific plan on what you are working towards. If your goal is to volunteer: where will you volunteer? how often? Make sure that you have a way to measure your goals and make sure that you do it each month to see how you are doing with it. Change the goal if you are struggling to meet it.
2. Get the right tools. If you are looking to spend less money and save more, tools that might help you are mint.com or creditsesame.com. You can search the internet for neat tools to help with any goal. New apps that manage weight goals or sites that can help you learn how to prepare healthier foods.
3. Be real with yourself. Take it from someone who hates working out, you need to be honest with yourself about what you do and do not like. The things you don’t like will take three times as much motivation to do. For motivation, I keep a chart for myself. I place a star sticker on the days I go to the gym. By the end of each week, I am able to see how well I did. If I only went three days in one week, I push myself to go five in the next. Placing that little star on the chart motivates me, because if I complete a certain number of days each month, I get a prize for the month. A new outfit or a trip to the spa works to motivate me each month. As you get going, feeling better might be enough motivation to keep it up.
4. Mental Health. Whether your goal is to lose weight, to save money, or to drink less, it is important to understand the root of what might hold you back from your goals. Sometimes losing weight isn’t as easy as going to the gym, because the root cause of your excess weight might be emotional. Taking care of your mental health can help you learn what might hold you back from certain goals. Find a therapist or counselor, use eastern thought to pick up meditation or yoga or try reading a self-improvement book.
5. Accountability. Find a way to hold yourself accountable to the goal or someone to help hold you accountable. A co-worker or friend might be working on a similar goal and you can help keep one another on track. If you are self-motivated you might be able to do this on your own. If you have had trouble in the past reaching new years resolutions, be diligent to try all these ideas.
The Cynical Therapist came to be when two therapists became friends. SoulMates or Kindered Spirit Animals… Call us what you will…. We are two bad*** chics Licensed to teach you how to grow into your full potential and add some humor along the way.
Laurie Wilson and Elle Anzalone are both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Huntington Beach, CA.