Every year, thousands of well-intentioned people internalize their plans and promises that this year will be different. Making New Year’s Resolutions comes from a desire for change. We’re ready to say goodbye to old habits and embrace new ones. We’ll set goals to eat more vegetables, clock in more time in at the gym, and lose that extra baby weight. While these are noble quests, more often than not, our good intentions end up being tossed out with our dried-up Christmas trees. Maybe our goals were too impractical, we lacked the means to carry through, things got too hard, or maybe we just plain-old forgot. Don’t get discouraged just yet—you know the team at HSL won’t leave you high and dry! We’ve got some proven tips to help you make this year’s resolutions stick like the tree sap you just can’t manage to scrub from the carpet!
Here are six ways to make your New Year’s Resolutions stick:
1. Make ‘em SMART: We sure love our acronyms at HSL, what with our PFC, DF, and GF approaches—all approved by our founder DC! So it should come as no surprise that we embrace a SMART approach to setting goals. Make sure your New Year’s resolution is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. If you’re able to structure your goal within this guideline, then you’re already miles ahead of those who set ambiguous goals like “I want to lose weight” or, “I’m going to be more generous.” Both are great thoughts, but how much weight will you lose? What constitutes as generosity? By what date do you want to lose the weight? What action steps will you take to put you on the track for weight loss? Are you managing your finances in a way that allows you to be generous? How much will you set aside to give? Specific goals sound like this: “I’m going to lose 10 pounds by June 1st,” or “I’m going to sponsor a child with $25 a month for the next 2 years” and then breaking them down further so you have a plan.
2. Make ‘em Public: If this sounds intimidating, then I’d suggest reviewing the SMART guidelines to make sure your goals fit here. If they don’t, make the necessary tweaks, and then share away! It might still seem a little scary to share this bit of information with friends, family, coworkers, Facebook or Twitter, but that’s a big part of getting the ball rolling in making your resolutions stick. Letting others know will give you motivation and create accountability, while also inspiring those around you to make positive changes in their own lives. This also gives others a chance to encourage you or offer advice if they’ve successfully achieved the same goals you’re setting out to fulfill yourself. (Side note: take their advice with a grain of salt if it contains phrases like fat-free or calorie counting!)
3. Get Support: Along with making it public, a key component to making your resolutions stick is securing a partner in crime. Again and again, research shows that regardless of the goals we set, we are most successful when held accountable to achieving those goals. That’s why our clients find more long-term success with a 12 month package rather than a three month package—extended accountability, support and guidance matter! Find a friend, spouse, health coach or sign up for the PFC Membership Club (our special online membership group that allows people who are going through similar struggles to support each other every step of the way while we provide guidance and answers to your questions!). When you’ve got someone on your side who knows what your goals are and what you’re doing to achieve them, they will be able to remind and encourage you to honor deadlines, as well as be there to help celebrate the victories along the way!!
4. One Day at a Time: Even if you make a SMART goal, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed if you dwell on the end result. Losing a significant amount of weight or going to the gym five times a week might feel like a heavy burden if you think about tackling the entire goal at once. Fortunately, that’s not the way goals are achieved. Taking small steps and focusing on getting through one day at a time will help you keep the proper perspective. Taking your resolution one day at a time means you don’t have to view it as a big and overwhelming task. Don’t hold yourself back with perfectionism, fear of success, fear of failure, faux-rewarding or dwelling on the outcome.
5. Review your Progress: Take inventory of your success along the way so that you know whether your plan will need any adjustments. Take notes, mental or actual, of any changes you experience as the weeks and months continue. Are your clothes fitting better? Do you have more energy? Is your sleep improving? If you aren’t experiencing changes, or they aren’t the changes you were hoping to see, it could mean several things. If you’ve been trying to lose weight the PFC way, check out our three-part series titled “Help! I’m Eating Real Food in Balance and Not Losing Weight!”. This would also be a great time to check in with your accountability partner that you enlisted in step #3, or reach out to the wider network you informed in step #2 for tips, encouragement, or direction on what to do next in order to see progress towards your goal.
6. Celebrate: When you are making progress, then by all means, celebrate! Make sure your rewards come through non-food provisions such as getting a massage, going shopping, going to a movie, or buying new workout clothes! Some other ideas (that don’t require spending money) could be taking a nice long bubble bath, watching a favorite TV show or movie, or carving out some time to read a magazine or book. Celebrating your progress with non-food rewards will not only help motivate you, it will also reinforce positive behaviors and help you appreciate all your success.
We know creating and achieving goals can be difficult, and we understand if you’ve had trouble sticking to your resolutions in the past. We’ve also seen hundreds of clients and followers overcome their ruts and hangups and achieve incredible goals (ones they never thought they could achieve!).
Follow these six steps and, as always, let us know if there’s any other way we can help you individualize your goals by sending us a message!