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New Year's Resolutions: A Recipe for Success

January 06, 2020

Want to stick to your New Year's Resolutions? Here are five helpful tips.

Did you know that within six weeks of the New Year, about 80% of people fail to keep their resolutions? January 1 is a great time to start fresh, but oftentimes we create unrealistic goals and expect drastic results, which feels like a recipe for disappointment. Change is never easy, but it's definitely possible. Here are five ways to create New Year's resolutions that will stick:

Start Small 

It's not uncommon to make an extreme New Year's resolution, like losing a ton of weight, or making a major career change. Unfortunately, this method tends to set us up for failure, which can leave us feeling guilty or ashamed. That's why it's so important to “think small;" AKA make practical resolutions that are actually attainable. Instead of an extreme diet, consider modest nutritional changes, like integrating more leafy greens into your meals, or reducing your sugar intake. If you're looking to change careers, think about taking an online course in your chosen field, or getting coffee with a professional acquaintance you admire to pick his or her brain. Taking small steps towards a larger goal may help you reach your objective much faster, in the end. 

Make a Resolution That Brings You Joy

Most people make resolutions with long-term benefits, but a 2016 study showed that people are more likely to pursue their goals if there is an immediate reward. That means you have to enjoy what you're doing, at least on some level. For example, if you hate running, chances are you're going not going to stick to a strict running regimen, no matter how disciplined you are. Instead, try making a resolution that will bring you immediate joy. If you're looking to incorporate more exercise into your routine, find an activity you actually like, such as yoga, boxing, or local intramural sports. If you want to start eating better, don't deprive yourself, but instead try healthy recipes that feature ingredients you love.

Get a Resolution Buddy

Oftentimes we keep our resolutions to ourselves, which means no one is holding us accountable. But teaming up with a friend or relative can have profound effects on your success rate. Social accountability vastly increases the probability of reaching your goals, which makes sense; knowing that you have someone to report to makes it much harder to give up. Your buddy can help track your progress, encourage you through roadblocks and will make your journey towards change way more fun. Plus, taking on a challenge alongside a friend or relative can improve your relationship and deepen your personal connection. 

Don't, and I repeat DO NOT, Beat Yourself Up

It may sound counterintuitive, but giving yourself permission to fail can actually help you stay on track. It's been clinically proven that perfectionism can be detrimental to reaching your goals, as it creates high levels of stress and anxiety. Let's say your resolution is to quit smoking, and one day you decide to have a cigarette. With a perfectionist mindset, you may feel so ashamed that you throw in the towel and give up altogether. Instead, try giving yourself a little leeway; if you have a minor slip up, tell yourself “it's okay." Consider that if a friend told you they strayed from their goal, you'd assure them it was no big deal. Treat yourself with the same level of respect and forgiveness, and remember that you can always start again. 

Use Tech

Thanks to technology, achieving your goals is now more attainable than ever. There are a ton of great apps out there, all of which you can access easily from most any personal device. Want to learn a new language? Duolingo offers personalized learning and has courses in over thirty different languages. If mindfulness is your goal, check out Headspace, an app with themed mediations ranging from stress reduction to improving sleep quality. MyQuit Coach can help you quit smoking and Mint can help you save money by allowing you to creating budgets and set bill pay reminders. Looking to stay fit but don't have time for the gym? No worries! With Gaiam TV Fit & Yoga from Cox, you can stream hundreds of fitness and yoga videos straight to your living room. Simply say “Gaiam TV fit and yoga" into your Contour Voice Remote. But no matter your resolution, finding the right soundtrack is key. Check out Pandora or Spotify for inspirational playlists that will keep you motivated on your journey to success.

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