If you’re like many of us, your 2016 New Year’s resolutions are at risk of becoming old news. Of the 45 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, only 64 percent have kept them by the time February rolls around. But just because you’ve had a slip, or a few slips for that matter, there’s no reason not to try, try again, according to a 2015 study by the University of Scranton.
While New Year’s marks the beginning of the year and is a natural time to set goals, it’s not the only time to make a fresh start. Research studies at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School found that implementing a new behavioral plan on Mondays works the same way as implementing one on January 1, according to Newswise.
In fact, The Monday Campaigns, an initiative associated with Johns Hopkins, Syracuse and Columbia universities that encourages individuals and organizations to institute healthy habits every Monday, is based on this premise. Imagine having 52 chances a year to reset your resolutions. It sounds like a winning strategy to us.
Kick any case of the Mondays with these tips for implementing anytime resolutions successfully.
Now that you’ve had a few weeks of practice, reevaluate your original goals for 2016. Were they too ambitions? Too vague? Unrealistic? If so, revamp your resolutions to give yourself a better chance for success. Maybe getting to work early every day was unreasonable since two days a week you have to get your three kids to school first. Try getting to work early on the other three days instead.
Perhaps implementing four goals at once was not viable. Instead, prioritize which goal is most important and start with that one. According to the American Psychological Association, “it is more effective to focus on a single, clear goal rather than taking on a list of goals at once. Succeeding at the first goal will free up willpower so it can then be devoted to the next goal. Work on one behavior at a time like going for a 45 minute walk a few times every week or setting aside 20 minutes every day to study for upcoming exams.”
When the alarm clock rings on a freezing February morning the last thing you want to do is to get up early to use the company gym. But you can’t stand up your office-mate. Knowing you’ve promised to meet him there is what gets you out of bed. So don’t go it alone.
“Having a solid support system can help you stay motivated. Explain what your goals are to your close friends or family and ask them to help you achieve your objectives. Better yet, enlist the help of others by joining a group that shares your goal,” writes Kendra Cherry at About Health.
Keeping resolutions is nearly impossible without devising a clear plan of goals and objectives. If resolutions are too vague, they can be overwhelming and hard to actualize. Try rewriting them so they are very specific.
“The resolutions that have the best chance of success are those that are carefully developed through a series of steps,” writes Randall S. Hansen for Quint Careers. “A large goal can seem overwhelming and impossible to ever achieve, but the secret is to attack that goal and break it into smaller tasks that eventually add up to achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to start your own business, you could instead make a plan to write a key element of your business plan each week.”
When most of us think of resolutions we think of forcing ourselves to do something we don’t want to do or depriving ourselves of something we want. Yet not all resolutions have to make us miserable. As a matter of fact, Huffington Post contributor, Michael Lazar sites a new survey that finds the most popular New Year’s resolution for 2016 was to “live life to its fullest.”
There are plenty of things we enjoy, but don’t do as much as we could. For example, taking part in company-sponsored wellness programs, volunteer activities and professional development courses can be fun while they also improve our health and build our skills and professional relationships. Sleep is another enjoyable pastime that often falls by the wayside. That’s a problem say Nicolaas Pronk a researcher at the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health, since his research finds that “employees who sleep better, work better.” So resolve to have more fun and get more rest in 2016!
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re having difficulty keeping your resolutions. At the same time, don’t let yourself off the hook too easily. Instead, get back on the horse, and start over.
“We all make mistakes and give in to temptations from time to time,” says Better Health Washington. “This might be the most important rule to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions. Don’t give up. Even if you mess up and have a splurge day, week, or even month, all is not lost. You are still better off picking up where you messed up than giving up all together.”
For more tips on finding success in the New Year, check out these blog posts: