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5 Secrets for Keeping a New Year’s Resolution

fist-pump-baby

Today’s the big day. January 1. Many of us have made the annual New Year’s Resolution. Why do so many New Year’s Resolutions fizzle? If you read my last post, you may have been mulling around some ideas for a change you’d like to make. Are you ready to get going on something new for the New Year? Sweet! Use these tips to make a change that sticks.

1. Focus on what you want to change, not what you should change. The word should comes with a lot of baggage. Often it’s attached to ideas that come from what we think others expect from us instead of what’s really important for our own lives. We can rattle off a big list of things that we feel like we should do, but only when we feel that  making a change is really worth it to us do we start moving toward doing something about it. The benefit of change has to be large enough that it’s motivating enough to make it happen.

2. Start small, grasshopper. Focusing on one small habit will lead to more success than vague goals that require changing many habits at once. Deciding to eat a piece of fruit each day is way less overwhelming than making a resolution to lose 50 pounds.

3. Avoid all or nothing thinking. Around this time of year we see lots of bullshit 30 day challenges and detoxes that involve a lot of restriction and high demands for perfection. What happens when we mess up for a day? For a lot of us, we feel failure and then scrap the whole thing. FYI you don’t need a detox. You have a liver for that. I haven’t met a whole lot of people who have had long term success from following highly restrictive diet and exercise plans. The ones who make it have learned to create habits that fit into their lives.

4. Make a plan. We’re going to break this down next week so stay tuned for that. But the plan is hugely important. Do you drive to Idaho without a road map? OK, it’s 2015 now, so GPS. But you know what I mean. Here’s where it goes sideways for most people. They have a goal that excites them but they haven’t spent much time figuring out what exactly they’ll do to get to their destination. Laying out the specifics will set you up for success.

5. Expect detours. We all have the clean slate today. It feels so good to start over. Once we miss the mark on our behavior goals a few times we can get discouraged and scrap the whole endeavor. But if we’re creating a new habit that will last a life time, isn’t it normal to have some bumps in the road? Get back in the seat and lose the judgment. Do you see all my driving and road metaphors? I’m on a roll today. In any case, be kind to yourself. Go back to why you wanted to make the change and regroup. This is for the long haul. Remember why you want to make choices and then decide on your choice the next time.

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Mine is to finally start printing and organizing my family pictures. They’re a mess. My first step is to find an online service to consolidate them all and then make a habit of immediately sharing them when I take new photos. Wish me luck on this very unsexy but necessary goal! Share your resolution in a comment below so we can cheer you on. Happy 2015!