Be honest, did you make New year’s resolutions this year that you have yet to stick to? If so, you’re not alone. Researchers have found that typically 77% of people are only able to keep their resolutions for 1 week, 64% keep them for one month, 50% for 3 months, and only 19% are able to keep their resolutions for over one year!
If only New Year’s resolutions were more like leather sofas during hot summer months, we’d all be able to stick to them easily. But no matter what we do, it sometimes seems impossible to lose that weight, stop smoking, or learn a new language (among many other pledges).
If you’re feeling guilty for not being able to stick with your resolutions, here are some ways you can stay true to them:
Be Sure They are Doable
Many people set themselves up for failure when setting unrealistic goals. If your resolution is to lose 50 pounds by summer, that may not be realistic for your personal situation.
In order to be successful, you’ve got to pick the right resolution, meaning, it has got to be personal to you, it has got to be achievable by you, and you have to create a plan to get there.
Take Baby Steps
If your resolution is to exercise more, don’t plan on working out for two hours each day, six days a week. Your body won’t be able to handle that if you’ve been inactive for some time. It will feel painful and you’ll want to give up. Instead, start small and build gradually. Decide to go to the gym twice a week for half an hour, then three times a week for an hour, etc.
Tackle One Resolution at a Time
Maybe you want to lose weight, build muscle, learn Mandarin, and start writing that novel. These are all great goals to have, but good luck tackling all of them at the same time.
Your best bet is to prioritize and tackle one goal at a time. Is your health at risk? If so, losing some weight should probably be a priority. Will learning Mandarin help you get that job promotion? Then maybe that should be on top of the list. Only when you feel you have a handle on one goal and have made progress should you consider adding another resolution to your “to-do” list.
You may also want to ask for support from friends and family. Accepting help from those who care is one great way to make sure you stick to your goals. Also, consider seeking help from a trained therapist. Mental health professionals can offer powerful tools that can help you uncover obstacles, where they came from, and tools to help you overcome them.
If you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch. I’d be happy to discuss how I may be able to help you stick to your resolutions and move your life forward.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW