With all of the anticipations of a new year come the intentions we set to improve ourselves — and, for most of us, the inventable falling away of said intentions. As popular as making resolutions may be, reports indicate that they’re more popular to make than to achieve; a 2015 report from U.S. News & World Report indicated that 80 percent of resolutions fail.
Why? A 2016 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that while resolutions are often set to reach delayed rewards (i.e.-losing weight through exercise), immediate rewards “predicted persistence.” What does that have to do with resolutions? Well, it means we are more likely to succeed at something through if we enjoy it. Consider this as you set your resolutions, and take stock of the following tips to see them through to fruition.
Plan on Being Patient
Worthwhile resolutions rarely produce overnight results; commitments to losing weight and saving more money take time. To keep yourself motivated, break down your larger goal into smaller ones with immediate rewards that can serve as markers on your journey.
Being specific when deciding on a resolution can increase the likelihood that the successful pursuit of that resolution will have as positive an impact on your life as possible. A nonspecific resolution to be live healthier will be successful if you set predetermined benchmarks to meet: take 3 yoga classes a week, eat one salad a day and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. This way, you will be more likely to commit to your goal, and more encouraged the closer you get to achieving it.
Don’t Be Shy
Sharing your resolution with others generates support for your pursuit, which can motivate you if you hit a rough patch. Share your journey with your friends, family and co-workers, and write about it on your social media of choice. Be honest when you are faltering — you’ll be amazed at the amount of support, insight and advice you will receive, which is just what you need to keep going.
Just like it’s important to be patient, it’s equally so to recognize there will be setbacks. The road to improvement is rarely smooth, and persisting through shortfalls will be, in the end, what gets you there. If you have resolved to save a specific amount of money, an emergency expense such as a home repair or a health issue will hinder your ability to meet your monthly savings goal. Don’t be discouraged; instead, commit to getting back on track in time to meet your next benchmark.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and odds are, the lasting change you want to make in yourself won’t happen overnight—not by a long shot. It takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit, according to a 2009 study published by the European Journal of Social Psychology. Instead of completely overhauling your diet in one go, gradually replace your normal foods with more nutritional ones. For instance, switch your morning bagel out for a smoothie one week. The next week, incorporate a salad into your lunch. and so on and so forth until your diet is full of healthy foods.