Each year, millions of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, and within weeks, many have failed or given up. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to ensure that your New Year’s resolution will be successful.
- Write it down. This simple action makes your New Year’s resolution formal and tangible. Write your New Year’s resolution down and post it in a place that will be helpful to you, such as in your car, on the refrigerator, or on the bathroom mirror.
- Create a support group. Although some people can achieve goals alone, most of us need the support of family and/or friends to succeed. Choose family members and friends to be part of your support group and ask for their support officially. Let each person in your support group know how they can help you be successful. If someone is not supportive, keep him or her at a distance while you’re achieving your goal.
- Task-manage your New Year’s resolution. It’s perfectly OK to create a large, long-term New Year’s resolution, but beware that the progress towards this goal will be slow. To ensure success, break your resolution down into manageable chunks. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon (26.2 miles) and you’ve never run before, start slowly and begin with the goal of one mile. **Then add a mile each additional week (to your comfort and health ability).
- Choose a personally meaningful goal. If your goal is one that others, such as a family member or significant other wants you to set, it’s unlikely you’ll be motivated to work towards that goal. When choosing a goal, make sure it is important to you and identify clear reasons why you’ve chosen that particular resolution.
- Plan for failure. No matter what type of goal you choose, you’ll falter at some point. Make sure you allow for this in your New Year’s resolution plan and don’t give up completely when you slip a little bit.
** This is merely a suggestion. Please consult with your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.