By: Laura Lebovitz | LAMFT at Grow Counseling
Imagine your life if you kept all of your New Year’s resolutions. Would you be less stressed, more organized, have more family time, or just smile more? I know I would have consumed a lot less sugar over the years! Setting a goal or a plan for the year comes with great intentions and sometimes a mini pep talk to get us pumped up and motivated to make a change. But, a couple months in, many people are back to old ways and wondering where all their determination went. A nationwide survey by the University of Scranton shows that only 8% of people are able to keep their resolution and make it a new habit. But, don’t get discouraged! A new year means a new chance to accomplish your New Year’s resolution and make some changes.
Here are some ways to keep your new year’s resolutions:
Pick the right goal.
You are most likely to achieve a goal if it holds personal meaning and significance for you. Pick resolutions that will have the greatest impact on your health, happiness, and enjoyment of life. Having a grocery list of resolutions will only leave you feeling more anxious and stressed. Pick one or two important goals for the year.
Once you find your most important goals, you have to figure out what feels realistic for you to accomplish. Think about possible obstacles ahead of time. For example – when you feel stressed, do you tend to eat unhealthily, or when you don’t put commitments in your calendar, do you get unorganized? Consider all of your other commitments and pace of life when deciding how much time and energy you can give to your new resolution.
Narrow your focus.
The more concrete your goal, the better the chance of actually completing it. Instead of having a broad goal of eating healthier, make your resolution more specific such as eating vegetables three times a day, or only having fast food twice a week. It is so easy to fall back into a past routine when things get overwhelming. Having a specific idea of what you want to accomplish will help motivate you when things get busy.
Don’t go it alone.
It is so hard to make a change when you are surrounded by your bad habit. Try to find at least one other person to share your New Year’s resolution with. Enlist the whole family if you can! Having people to talk about your journey with will help you navigate the ups and downs more smoothly. It can also make your journey more fun! You can turn it into a friendly game and motivate one another to do their best.
Celebrate the small victories!
Change can be hard sometimes. Try to notice your moments of success just as much as you pay attention to the moments you wish you could do differently. Celebrate every little victory, and know that each one brings you closer and closer to your ultimate goal. Do not forget to look back on your journey and see the progress you’ve made. Plan out little celebrations ahead of time for major milestones – treat yourself to a nice dinner out for your three month mark, go on a weekend trip for your six month mark, etc. Having these celebrations to look forward to will keep you motivated to reach your goal.
Laura Lebovitz is a licensed associate marriage and family therapist that works in the Suwanee area at GROW Counseling. She received her Masters of Family Therapy from Mercer University School of Medicine. She works with children, adolescents, young adults, and families dealing with a variety of concerns. She specializes in working with anxiety, autism, self-harm, life transitions like divorce, and building healthy relationships within families.