New Year’s resolutions always seem like such a great idea at the time; our best intentions are put forth to eat less, exercise more, date more and work less, find love, quit smoking, be happier, stress less etc. etc. etc… But by Jan. 2nd these wonderful positive intentions often seem to go out with the Holiday trash. So why do we make New Resolutions we can’t keep – and how can we do better to help make them stick?
Why Don’t We Keep our New Year’s Resolutions?
Let’s set the stage for this yearly resolution ritual we often play – we’re in the Holiday Season, where our social calendar suddenly expands exponentially. We’re attending parties, family functions, work functions, getting together with friends, drinking a lot, eating A LOT, and spending money like there’s no tomorrow. It’s very easy to make a resolution to go on a diet when your belly is painfully full, or a resolution to save money when you look at your Holiday-time bank account, and certainly easy to make promises we may be unable to keep when we’ve been drinking too much… Simply put, we’re in a state that is not our normal way of being. Everything is building and building until New Year’s and with the pop of the champagne cork, we’re back to reality. Suddenly our resolution don’t seem that fun to implement anymore, and we find ourselves falling back into the same routine all over again…
Steps to Help You Keep your New Year’s Resolutions
1. Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable, and have a plan. Making drastic changes in your behavior and lifestyle can be very difficult to keep up. Have a plan with a realistic timeline – saying you are going to lose 20 pounds by February will only set you up for failure in the long run.
2. Are you motivations for change real? Do you honestly want to make a change in your life or were you just reacting to feeling bloated at Christmas dinner? Without a true commitment, you’ll find very quickly there’s no point in making resolutions.
3. Make your tasks non-negotiable. Self- discipline and will power are the keys to keeping your resolutions. Without them, you constantly leave room for “exceptions” and “reasons” why you “can’t” (but really just don’t) follow through. Keep in mind that self-discipline and will power are like anything else in life, it takes time and patience to master them, and they DO get easier with time!
4. Allow yourself some margin of imperfection. Just because you aren’t perfect, doesn’t mean you should stop trying. This is where many resolutions tend to go south – one mistake and we throw the baby out with the bath water. Pick yourself up, figure out where you went wrong, how you can avoid doing the same thing again, and try a little harder next time.
5. Act now. Putting it off will only make it that much harder to get motivated. The power to change your life is yours alone – so whatever resolution is most important to you, whether it be changing your health, reducing your stress, or finding a mate, find it within yourself to make it happen, so that by the time New Year’s comes around next year, you can reflect at how much positive progress you’ve made!