We’re coming to the end of January, which begs the question, “Are you sticking to your New Year resolutions?” If by any chance you’re starting to falter, you aren’t alone. Statistics show that 64% of people are still following there resolutions by the end of January. Six months later, the number drops to 44%, according to psychologist John Norcross, author of Changing for Good. If you’d like to be part of the 44%, here are a few tips to help your resolutions stick.
Tip #1: Be Specific
Many of my clients start out with very vague goals, such as “I want to feel better” or “I need to exercise more” or “I want to lose weight”. These are an important part of a Wellness Vision, but spelling out the details is critical for long-term results. Having a well thought out plan will be the difference between a good intention and a behavior changed for good. The details of how you’ll reach your goal, utilizing your strengths and what has worked in the past, leads to great results!
Tip #2: Set Mini Goals
Frequently women set goals that are overwhelming and lead to giving up before reaching them. By setting smaller goals, while keeping the vision of the end goal, we are less overwhelmed and less likely to get discouraged, which leads to giving up. Realistic resolutions or goals in general are ones you can live with. Small steps strung together, leads to big success. Believe me, I’ve seen it many times with the women I work with who want to lose weight, exercise regularly, lower their blood sugar, or have more energy.
Tip #3: Get Support
After the first few weeks of making behavior changes, the novelty has worn off and motivation wanes. Social support becomes an essential ingredient at this point. And one piece of advice—don’t make your spouse or significant other your only source of support. I learned long ago that my husband makes a terrible girlfriend (more on that at another time)! I love him dearly, but your partner cannot fulfill every need, so this is one time that support is best when it comes from others. Some of my clients do well with an exercise buddy or a girlfriend they can check in with about their progress and challenges. Others find checking in with me regularly helps for support, problem-solving and accountability. Still others use online support groups or church groups as their main source. Most importantly, make sure your source really is supportive and not inclined to sabotage your efforts as you’re success grows.
Tip #4: Expect Slips
Yep, slips are going to happen, which is where having support becomes really important and will help you deal with them constructively. I help my clients learn how to recover from slips before they become long-term setbacks. Slips are inevitable; it’s how you deal with them that matters in the long run. At times slip-ups can be helpful for learning and awareness of what works and doesn’t work for you in certain situations. This awareness, along with different planning and strategies helps prevent similar slips from happening in the future.
Tip # 5: Reward Yourself
Not for the slips, of course, but for the small successes along the way. I find this isn’t something that comes easily or naturally for most women, and coming up with non-food rewards is key. A reward can be a massage, flowers, taking a bath, an movie with a friend, or any other activities that bring you joy and celebrate the small steps. So start your list of rewards and add to it as you think of them That way you’ll have ideas at your fingertips that you can use along the way to bolster your motivation and success.