Chances are, if you are among the 45 percent of Americans that set New Year's resolutions each year (according to a study by the University of Scranton), you may also be among 73 percent of Americans who have infrequent success or never succeed and fail on their resolution each year.
However, 2013 is a fresh start to a new you and a new year. It's time for you to clean the slate and forget all resolutions of past year's and look forward to a successful new year. Whether you've set resolutions in the past or are setting your first one this year, with some preparation, you can make your resolutions a reality.
Most people set extremely broad resolutions, which makes them very difficult to attain. According to the University of Scranton's study, the top three resolutions from 2012 were to lose weight, get organized and spend less, save more. While these are great goals to have for the year, they are hard to quantify.
Even when people decide to quantify their resolutions, they are often so big, people get discouraged. "Lose 20 pounds" or "go to the gym" are common goals for people who are hoping to get healthier. However, how do you get from point A -- of doing very little or nothing -- to point B?
Here are some tips on how to set resolutions to keep this year:
- Be realistic. Losing 25 pounds or becoming a marathoner sound like really good goals, and create really awesome day dreams. If you haven't worked out in five years, is it realistic to say that you'll run a marathon by the end of the year? If you haven't participated in a weight loss program or ever watched what you ate, is it realistic that you can drop 25 pounds?
Think about your goals in a realistic way. Instead of saying you'll drop 25 pounds, think about losing 10 percent of your body weight. Or, if your dream is to run a marathon, but you haven't ran in years, start small: train for a 5K or join a running club.
- Create one strong resolution, not five little ones. The more resolutions you have, the better chance you have at meeting them, right? Not true. While it may seem like a smart idea to create a variety of goals, try to stick to a few strong resolutions that you can focus your attention on. Many people like to create a resolution for each area of life: family, health and finance.
- Develop a plan. Now that you have your resolution in mind, create a plan on how you will achieve it. Be the one out of five Americans that uses their gym memberships. Instead of telling yourself you'll go to they gym every single day in the new year, set a realistic goal. Start slowly: set a goal to go to the gym once or twice a week in January, and slowly build to four or five times a week.
As part of your plan, build in mini goals so you can feel progress towards your goal. For instance, if you are trying to lose weight, for every 5 pounds you lose, reward yourself with a spa treatment you've been waiting for or an afternoon to enjoy your favorite hobby.
- Find support. Finding support is important to help you stay on track. Supporters can provide you the advice and counsel you need to meet your goals. Look to family and friends to see if they've set similar goals, or turn to the blogging community. Networks such as FitFluential or SweatPink are great ways to link up with bloggers across the country -- and world -- to find the support your need to meet your goals.
Journaling is another great way to track your success and talk through your goals. By starting a journal, you can track your progress and also reflect on how you feel on a daily basis.
- Stay positive. Your resolution is a resolution for a reason: it is going to take work and dedication to meet it. With that in mind, don't let yourself get discouraged if you hit some speed bumps. Remember that you have the entire year to meet your goal and if you trip up one week, you still have 51 more weeks to meet your goal.
Remember how great it will feel at the end of the year when you are one of the few who is able to say "I did it -- I kept my resolution."