The new year often brings a lot of excitement and celebration, along with hangovers and plenty of holiday eating guilt! Before you go crazy resolving to lose weight, get in shape and be bikini-ready overnight, think back to your resolutions from last year, if you made any. Can you remember what you resolved to do last year? Did you achieve any of your resolutions?
If you didn’t, you aren’t alone. According to surveys, 92% of Americans never achieve their resolutions. The good news is that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. There are more successful ways to channel that newfound inspiration you may be feeling at the start of a new calendar year.
Make your resolutions more likely to succeed this year with these four simple tips:
1. Create an action plan for the year.
Decide on one big-picture goal for this year, and write it down. Next, pull out your calendar and work backward with small steps that will need to happen each month before you can reach that long-term goal.
For example, if your goal for 2016 is to lose 30 pounds, try breaking down that larger and often intimidating goal into smaller, more manageable pieces. Each month, break your weight loss down into more realistic and manageable goals. If you look at each month, knowing you only have a weight-loss goal of 2.5 pounds, you may be more likely to achieve your long-term goal for the year.
2. Make a vision board of your resolutions.
Let pictures tell your resolution story for 2016. Get creative with magazines: Cut out pictures, quotes and numbers — anything that inspires you and gets you excited about the year ahead. Hang it up someplace in your home where you will see it every day, and update it throughout the year to help you stay motivated and on track with your daily and monthly goals.
3. Write a letter to yourself and seal it, to be opened next New Year’s Eve.
Compose the letter as if you were writing to a dear friend, telling her about all of the things you would like to see her do in the next year. Be sure to use encouraging language, and include a paragraph on how proud of her you will be for achieving her goals for the year. You can also do this online, to be emailed to your future self on a date of your choosing.
4. Set yourself up for success.
Get clear about what you are willing to do — and what you are not — to achieve your goals, and then create strategies around these parameters.
For example, if you hate to run, but you think training for a half-marathon is your ticket to losing weight, you may be setting yourself up to fail! Instead, find a better strategy to get to your weight-loss goal. Maybe you really enjoy walking instead. Why not put together a great walking program for yourself, or consult a professional for help?
Once you have your plan in place, download your favorite audiobooks or playlists to your phone, buy a new pair of sneakers, give yourself a gold star on your calendar after each walk — whatever it takes to keep yourself motivated and excited about participating in (and sticking with) your system.
Try putting a few of these tips to good use, and — who knows? — maybe next year you will be a part of the 8% of Americans who can say they accomplished their resolutions.
Wishing you a very happy, healthy new year, everybody!
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