Most of us don't usually have an issue coming up with a New Year's Resolution (or 10), but sticking to it is much more challenging. Here are some of our favorite tips on how to stick to and succeed at your New Year's Resolutions:
1. Make them attainable
It may be admirable to give up anything with sugar for an entire year, but let's face it: That's not going to happen. According to the American Psychological Association,by making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year, incorporating healthy behavior into your everyday life. It might seem common sense, but committing to going to the gym three or four times a week instead of seven is just more realistic. We're not getting more time in the new year folks.
2. Plan your course of action
The New York Times reported on a couple studies which found that having a plan of attack for your goals helps a lot. For instance, patients who were prompted to write down a time and a place where they would get their flu shots were more likely to actually get that shot. Get to know the details of how you'll accomplish your goals. If anything, it makes for one less excuse.
3. Raise the stakes
When there's more of an incentive than just winning New Year's resolutions, you may be more likely to succeed in your goals, according to a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study found people who wanted to lose weight who were given financial incentives lost significantly more weight than a control group. Only about 10 percent of the people with no financial incentive lost the desired amount of weight, compared to about 50 percent of those who did have that incentive. Translation: Get someone to pay you to lose weight. Or put aside money that you can only use if you lose that weight.
4. Be held accountable
It's the oldest trick in the book: Guilt. Or as the academics say, "Peer Mentoring." When companions with similar interests and struggles can hold each other accountable, like in one study of diabetics, they are more likely to succeed in their goals.Patients with diabetes who talked with a peer mentor on a regular basis were most successful in lowering their glucose levels, the study, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, reported.
5. Don't be too hard on yourself
You saw the stats — you're probably not going to succeed entirely at this. Vox Media spoke to a psychologist at the University of Toronto in Mississauga, Janet Polivy, who found many people give up on their goals after faltering. She argues that just because you're not successful one day doesn't mean you can't get back on that horse.