This is it. The year you vow to lose weight, get fit, quit smoking or make other positive changes in your life. It seems easy enough—you’re motivated and know that what you’re planning to do is good for you.
You start the year with the best intentions. So why is it that if you’re like approximately 80 percent of Americans, you’ll give up on your goals by the second week in February?
One major problem with sticking to resolutions for more than a few days or a few weeks is that many people try to make changes that are not easy to live with. We aim too high only to set ourselves up for failure because those changes are not sustainable. For example, if we want to lose weight, we adopt an eating plan that makes us feel deprived. If getting fitter is our goal, we join a gym and start going five times a week, only to quickly burn out.
So how can you make it more likely that your resolutions will last long after Valentine’s Day has come and gone? Here are a few tricks that can help:
- Change one thing at a time. Don’t jump head-first into a resolution that requires you to drastically change your life. Instead, take it one step at a time by identifying small and measurable goals. For example, if you resolve to eat healthier, swap out your afternoon candy bar with a piece of fruit every day—that’s it. Once that becomes a habit, add another good habit and then another, until you wind up with sustainable actions that deliver long-term results.
- Choose goals you’ll be able to accomplish. Be realistic about what you plan to achieve each step of the way. With every goal you conquer, you build trust in yourself and boost self-confidence. This makes subsequent goals easier because you begin to believe that you really can do it.
- Learn self-awareness. Often, the difference between achieving your goals and falling short lies not in your actions but in your attitude. If you believe you can accomplish something, you’re more likely to succeed. If you look at a setback as a learning opportunity, you learn to focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative. As you start to identify what’s blocking your path to success, you’ll be more likely to make the changes necessary to reach your goals.
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