How often do you tell yourself that you’re going to change your eating habits, start an exercise routine, or squeeze more “me” time into your schedule? Most people set such goals each year, but few manage to accomplish them.
The majority of those who make New Year’s resolutions quit their plans by January 19. They start the year with the best intentions, but they’re simply not committed enough to make a change. Daily stress, family problems and other lifestyle factors come into play, too.
If you’re wondering how to make a habit that lasts through the New Year, read on. Below are some simple steps you can take to set realistic goals and find the motivation you need to stay on track.
This is why New Year’s resolutions fail
First things first, try to determine what’s keeping you from reaching your goals. Is it because you’re lacking motivation? Or maybe you get caught up in other things and put your needs second?
Another possible reason is that your resolutions are not specific enough. If, say, you decide to start eating healthier in the New Year, make sure you set specific goals. For example, you could make a commitment to yourself to ditch the sugar or quit soda.
With this approach, you’ll be better able to track your progress and stay motivated. Ideally, set short-, medium-, and long-term benchmarks to measure your efforts in a more effective manner.
But there are several other reasons New Year’s resolutions fail. Let’s see a few examples:
- You don’t believe in yourself
- You’re doing too much, too soon
- You don’t enjoy or trust the process
- You don’t track your progress
- You give up too easily
- You don’t have a plan
- Reaching your goals is expensive or time-consuming
Note that most people think of their New Year’s resolutions as short-term goals. But changing your diet or starting an exercise habit isn’t something you can achieve overnight. Such goals require continuous learning and long-term commitment.
Research indicates that it takes about 66 days to break an old habit. Creating good habits takes even longer. You cannot expect to become an early riser, tweak your schedule or quit smoking in just a few days.
So, what does it take to overcome these challenges? For starters, check out these tips on how to make a habit that sticks.
Get into the right mindset
Focus on changing your mindset before trying to change your behavior. Set realistic goals and then reframe the way you think.
Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds and eat healthier overall. Again, that’s not something you can achieve overnight. Be prepared to make major lifestyle changes and give up your old habits.
Make an effort to cook more balanced meals and seek healthier alternatives to your go-to snacks. Take one step at a time rather than trying to change everything at once. Most importantly, think long-term and stop looking for shortcuts.
Set SMART Goals
Creating good habits is all about setting SMART goals. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, …….