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How to Keep a New Year's Resolution

How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution

Setting a resolution for the new year always seems like a good idea. Whether it’s to eat better, exercise more, stop smoking or spend more time with family, there are plenty of noble goals.

Keeping that New Year’s resolution, though, is the hard part. According to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, as few as 9% of those who make resolutions report being successful. What can you do to improve your chances of success? Here are five tips for how to keep your New Year’s resolution and get a fresh start.

  1. Set Realistic Goals

It sounds nice to say you want to lose 100 pounds or read three books a week. But setting a lofty goal is often just setting yourself up for failure. Discover Happy Habits cites a study where 35% of people who didn’t keep resolutions admitted their goals were unrealistic. By setting smaller goals to start, such as losing 20 pounds or reading a book a month, you have a much better chance of achieving them.

  1. Be Specific and Have a Plan

Another reason resolutions fall short is that they’re too vague. Wanting to get in shape is great -; but how will you do so? Once you’ve identified a goal, the next step is a plan, such as ordering some PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells and creating a workout schedule. The key is having something specific and challenging that’s still attainable. A study in Organizational Dynamics found that such goals lead to much better performance than vague goals.

  1. Track Progress

The American Psychological Association reports that monitoring your progress toward a goal greatly increases the chances of successfully achieving it. Recording this progress or publicly talking about it improves the odds even more. Not only are you holding yourself accountable and maintaining focus, but you also can set smaller goals and see the steps you’re taking to reach the larger goal. Keeping a workout journal, creating a spreadsheet or posting on social media are all ways you can track how you’re faring.

  1. Don’t Try to Do Too Much

It’s tempting to try to get in shape, start a new career, drink less and improve your love life all at the same time. But studies have shown that the more changes you attempt at once, the less likely you are to succeed at any of them. As Mind Tools notes, you only have so much time and energy, and setting several goals usually means each one isn’t getting enough attention. Start with one good resolution and go from there.

  1. Be Prepared for Setbacks

Even if you have the perfect goal, plan and tracking system, the road won’t always be smooth. There is going to be adversity at some point, such as missing a workout due to sickness. But don’t let one setback send your resolution completely off the rails. Harvard Business Review says that asking certain types of questions can help you shift your mindset and be more resilient when life throws a curveball.