Welcome to the New Year! If you’re like 41 percent of Americans, you’ve likely made some sort of resolution. Sadly, only 20 percent of those who make a New Year’s resolution actually keep it.
So how do you become one of the few who sticks with it? Start by looking to those who have already been there, done that.
We compiled a list of 13 Habits of Successful Resolutioners — the things real people say has helped them stay on-track and meet their new year’s goals.
They pick one thing to resolve.
Maybe you want to be better with money. Or maybe you want to make new friends. Maybe you’re going with a good ole fashioned weight loss goal. Maybe it’s all of the above. It’s great to have a lot of life goals, but conquering one at a time makes it manageable and lifelong.
They create a plan.
Anyone can say “I’m going to lose weight.” Fewer people actually write out a tangible, step-by-step plan. But sticking with a resolution requires just that. Use S.M.A.R.T. goals (“specific; measurable; achievable; relevant; timebound.”) to plan your attack. An essential guide for writing S.M.A.R.T. goals can be found here.
They look at that plan daily and track it.
Now that you have your S.M.A.R.T. goals planned out, keep them somewhere you can see them! Hang them up on the wall, set notifications on your phone, post them to Facebook. Make sure they’re out there, in front, so you can look at them daily and make sure you’re on the right track.
They set themselves up for success.
When you look around your home, what do you see? Is there junk food all over? How about when you think about your relationships? Are you surrounding yourself with good people, people who encourage you? What about when you open your wallet? Is it filled with credit cards that you don’t really need? If you’re going to stick with it this year, your environment is just as important as any plan you create. Get rid of the junk food. End toxic relationships. Cut up those extra credit cards. Do what you need to do to ensure that you’re only surrounded by positive, supportive things and people.
They savor every moment.
You know that whole saying “It’s the little things in life”? There’s a reason that’s been going around for a century or two. Stopping and enjoying each and every little thing — whether it’s the taste of your food or a fresh breeze when you’re out for a walk — is critical to staying successful.
They get enough sleep.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Too little sleep can be detrimental to your efforts. Our bodies are programmed to need rest to function properly. Without enough of it, we’re more likely to give into temptation and do negative things, like stress-eating, for example. Don’t derail your progress by going to bed late. Make sleep priority one.
They get in the growth mindset.
Which do you think leads to a true lifestyle change: willpower or baby steps? No matter how good our intentions are, going into a resolution with the mindset of “being strong” and “using willpower” is never going to work. The best way to approach any resolution is to take it one small step at a time by changing one little thing each day, and then building on each change. Each change you make slowly and steadily become habit, making a lifelong impact, rather than just a temporary fix.
They appreciate the little things.
Maybe you chose a salad rather than a burger at lunch. Maybe you woke up early and went for a walk. Maybe you chose not to go shopping that day. Whatever the choice is, celebrate it. Be grateful you have the ability to make those choices, as plenty of people don’t have that luxury. And be thankful you made a better choice, which is the key to seeing it blossom into even more.
They don’t make excuses.
Excuses are just bad habits in disguise. They’re a way you justify why you’re making bad choices and avoid taking accountability for your actions. Doing that is the fast path to failure. When you own your actions, it makes changing them that much easier.
They have positive relationships.
You are defined by the people you surround yourself with. And even more importantly, your relationships can play a big role in your success. Do your friends support you, or do they poke fun at your goals? Do they have resolutions of their own? Finding like minded people, or at the very least people who encourage you, can make or break your success.
They reward themselves with experiences, not food.
It’s important to celebrate your milestones by rewarding yourself, but spending money on a sweet treat or a night out is like taking two steps forward, one step back, and may only prolong your efforts. Instead, consider using an experience to reward yourself. Plan a weekend to the mountains. Save up for a vacation to somewhere exotic. Spend money on memories, rather than food or drinks.
They exercise regularly.
Besides the obvious benefits of maintaining a healthier weight and body, exercise also stimulates various chemicals in the brain that enhance your mood and boost your energy. But what if you hate the gym? It doesn’t have to be grueling or miserable. Go for a walk. Take a fitness class. Play with your kids. Just do something to get moving a few times a week.
They build confidence.
Every time you meet a milestone, don’t just celebrate it, let it build your self-esteem, too. Remember that YOU did it — wallow in that power and grow as a person. The more steps you take in a positive direction, the more you should believe in yourself. Slowly but surely, the steps you take will become the new you.
Did we miss something? What are some habits of someone you know who has been successful meeting a goal?
Author: Caitlin Hendee
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.