How to Make Healthy New Year’s Resolutions – And Keep Them

The holidays are coming and the year-end is fast approaching. Its around this time that some of us start to reflect on the year past, and set goals for the months ahead. Those reflections often give birth to New Years resolutions personal pledges that next year youll be happier, fit, productive, informed, and a better all-around year's resolution

But bad news: according to a study from the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans make New Years Resolutions, but only 8% of people accomplish them.

Weve come up with a list of five tips to transform your resolutions into realities and tell you why its not the end of the world if dont achieve them.

Tip One: Make Resolutions in Achievable Steps

Its easy to get overwhelmed by a big picture resolution. You know the ones: run a marathon, lose 30 pounds, become a better employee…

Nested within each of those bigger goals are several smaller steps that have to be taken.

For example:

  • The resolution of I want to run a marathoncan first be I will start going to a jogging clinic three times a week;
  • The goal of paying off your student debt can become a promise to set aside $50 a week into a savings account.

By deconstructing your New Years resolutions into several steps, your goals will become more achievable from Day One, which will lead to a greater chance of success in the long run.

Tip Two: Be Realistic With What Is Possible

Aiming for the stars can be great, but is it realistic? When making your resolutions, take a good hard look at what is possible for you physically, emotionally, and time-wise.

One of the main reasons people dont accomplish their resolutions is because they just dont have the time. If your resolution is to learn Spanish, but the effort required to do so would mean you couldnt bring your kids to swimming lessons, you may need to reassess your goal. There is no time like the New Year to be frank with yourself, and while its important to be optimistic in your goal setting, its also important that you have the capacity to achieve them.

As psychologist Lynn Bufka tells the American Psychological Association: it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.

Tip Three: Set Reasonable Time Frames

New Years resolutions are supposed to get you through the next 12 months, but how does that translate to your everyday behavior? Its easy to say youll accomplish Item XX within the first two months of the New Year, but you need an action plan to get there.

The University of Scranton study referenced earlier says 75% of people keep their resolutions for the first week of the New Year, but that number plunges to less than 50% following the six-month-mark. Dont let that be you set out weekly timelines to achieve your resolution and stick to them.

Tip Four: Share Your Goals with Others

Whether its friends, family, or a significant other, resolutions are better accomplished if you are working on them as a team. The power of a community (not to mention a bit of social pressure) can be an excellent motivator. Joining a class or making a date to prepare healthy meals with a friend every week can help you commit to your resolution.

Virtual sharing can work, too. Announcing your goals on Facebook and Twitter, or documenting your accomplishments on a public blog can be a good accountability tool, not to mention a source of support when you need it.

Tip Five: A Resolution Unaccomplished Is Not a Resolution Lost

This is a tip for after youve made your list of resolutions and perhaps broken one or two of them. Remember that just because you didnt reach the goal you set out to achieve doesnt mean you havent learned anything.

Resolutions are about more than just the final outcome. Maybe you didnt lose 20 pounds but as a result of your attempts you learned to cook various healthy dishes. Perhaps you didnt completely pay off your debt but in trying you discovered an effective budgeting app for your phone. Stop fixating on the outcome of your resolution and think of all that can be learned along the road to that goal.

Whats a time youve made a New Years resolution and kept it? Share your tips in the comment section below.


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