Almost half of all adults make a New Year’s resolution. But once the party hats and horns are put away, it’s hard to muster up the ambition to follow through. After only one week, about 25% of resolution makers have already lost focus. According to University of Pennsylvania research, 77% of resolution makers are still on target after six months, and only about 19% stay the course to allow for a sustained behavior change.
To Stay on Track with Your Resolution, First Identify the Obstacles
There are a number of factors that get in the way of reaching our goals, including picking goals that are too big, not making a plan for how to achieve them, trying to do everything ourselves, and not keeping track of our energy levels. But when you decide you need to change, you really can. There are some simple things to keep in mind if you think you need to make a change but worry that you’ll fall short:
Make Yourself Accountable
Don’t keep your goal a secret: publicly acclaim your good intention to at least one other person, if not a whole office full. The more you’ve committed yourself verbally, the more likely you are to follow through. Following through is easier when the flip side is experiencing embarrassment or shame. Tell everyone the date you are going to quit smoking, and it will be much easier to resist a cigarette than if no one knows of your plan.
Pick Achievable Goals
Be careful not to set yourself up for failure by picking a goal that is greater than the energy level you have to accomplish it. Running a marathon takes a lot more effort than going for a walk. Our overall energy to achieve a goal starts with our brain, so it’s important that you take good care of it. If you are dehydrated or lack essential nutrition like minerals and vitamins, then your brain wave signaling will slow down and your body will too. It is hard to be passionate about reaching a goal when every cell in your body just wants a nap. Simple things that we don’t even think about can get in the way of achieving our goals. Most people don’t realize that eating fast food and too few fruits and vegetables really will drain you of energy.
Check In with Yourself
It’s easier to be sure that you are giving your body and brain the support they need if you learn to listen closely. If you notice what time of day your fatigue sets in, look back at your behaviors and choices and see if you can pinpoint the problem. Maybe you are tired because you skipped breakfast or ate only cookies for lunch. Maybe you feel like giving up on your goal due to low energy because you haven’t had any aerobic exercise in several days, weeks, or months. Or maybe you’ve bottled up stress and not problem-solved ways to feel better. Sometimes you just need to get your tears out.
Be Realistic and Persistent
One small goal makes more sense than a big unreachable goal, but with diligence, you really can make the changes you need to in order to reach your full potential. If you feel like letting go of your resolution goals, then you may need to identify the reasons why and start by addressing these first. Another helpful hint is to reach out for a buddy, as everything is easier when done with support.