One of the most popular traditions surrounding the beginning of each New Year is the setting of personal goals in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Some have stated that this practice can be traced back 4000 years to the time of the ancient Babylonians.
This annual ritual continues to this day and, according to Business Insider, getting in shape tops the list as the resolution most often stated. But our best laid plans often do go astray.
Strava, which is a social network for athletes, states that most people give up on their resolutions by mid-January. And, by the second week of February, some 80% have failed, according to US News & World Reports.
So how can we attain better success at keeping our New Year’s resolutions? The following suggestions may be of assistance.
- Focus on specific goals and how to measure progress. “Getting in shape” is not very specific and not easily measured. Instead a goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, three times per week is specific and measurable.
- Be realistic and tailor your resolution to things you would really like to change.
- Work on one resolution at a time. Being overly ambitious could be overwhelming and lead to dissatisfaction at the progress you are making.
- Don’t be afraid to alter your goals. As with any plan, certain modifications may be required from time to time. Periodically assess your progress and determine if your original goal was realistic.
- Keep written records of your progress. If you don’t know where you started you won’t know how far you’ve come.
- Try to find others who have similar goals and work together as a group to achieve these. There is strength in numbers!
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes you may experience a temporary setback that may affect your rate of progress. That is not unusual so be ready to cut yourself some slack.