You rang in the New Year, you're back at work, and the kids are in school. Now it's time to seriously think about those New Year's resolutions. According to a recent study by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 60% of Americans regularly make New Year's resolutions. However, only 8% of us are able to accomplish those goals. So what is holding us back? Are we setting the bar too high? Perhaps. Do we lose sight of the long-term goal? Definitely. Statistics show that 75% of people that make New Year's resolutions are able to keep those resolutions for the first two weeks of the year. By July, that number drops to 45%.
It's time to make 2014 the year of resolution success. Below, we share some helpful tips on how to make – and keep – your 2014 resolutions.
1. Set Manageable Goals
Too often, we identify a problem and make big plans to change it – then we find ourselves slipping back into old habits. Don't get caught in the loop. Instead, approach a New Year's resolution as a project and tackle it step-by-step. Dividing long-term resolutions into smaller, more manageable goals is just one way to ensure success. Think carefully about what you're trying to achieve, and consider the steps you'll need to take to get there. Try setting monthly goals, and if you still find it hard to commit, set weekly goals instead.
2. Remember the Big Picture
As with any project, you'll want to take a moment each month to evaluate your performance. Are the weekly or monthly goals you've set continuing to help you stick to those New Year's resolutions? Keep track of your progress and evaluate your performance. Self check-ins not only keep you motivated and focused, they also provide a chance to evaluate your long-term goals. Each time you meet a resolution milestone, take a moment to consider what techniques are working and what behaviors may be holding you back.
3. Stay Out of Your Way
Don't let negative thinking stand in the way of your New Year's resolutions. Instead, get excited about your goals by learning new ways to meet – and even exceed – your expectations. When you're curious about your options and open to learning new ways to meet your goals, you're much more likely to achieve positive results. So do your research! No matter what your resolution may be, you're sure to find fun, helpful tips on replacing old habits with positive alternatives.
4. Reward Yourself
We all know it's easier to meet a goal when you have incentive. Each time you hit a resolution milestone, celebrate your accomplishments. Depending on your goal, finding an appropriate reward can make all the difference. Trying to meet a fitness goal? Treat yourself to a spa day for sticking to your exercise plan. Indulging in small rewards will keep you satisfied and on task.
5. Stay Connected
Most people find it easier to meet personal goals by seeking social support. Your friends and co-workers are most likely striving to achieve similar goals, so consider forming a mutual support group. Discussing plans to achieve goals with a group of like-minded individuals not only provides excellent support, it's a great way to discover new, creative solutions for achieving shared goals. Staying connected doesn't have to be as formal as a weekly status meeting, but quick check-ins can be a great way to keep yourself on track well into the new year.
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