Making Resolutions that Stick
Research shows that failure rates for New Year’s resolutions fall between 60% and 85% depending on the study with around 30% failing within the first 30 days. January sees gym memberships spike and therapists’ offices fill up with well-intentioned individuals and couples desperate to do things differently in the coming year. It’s a great time of year to reflect, assess, and plan. Increase your chances for success by:
- Keeping it simple. Don’t try to reinvent yourself all at once. Pick one or two changes, not 20.
- Putting pen to paper. Write it down. Say it out loud. Imagine yourself doing it. Use as many senses as possible during the planning stages.
- Keeping resolutions attainable. Change is hard enough without setting yourself up for failure from the start. Make sure you have the resources available to succeed by keeping things realistic.
- Being specific. If you only have ambiguous goals, it makes it all the more difficult to measure progress and success.
- Asking for help. Share your goals with family or friends. You may need their support, encouragement, and accountability along the way. It is a lot easier to give up if you only have yourself to answer to.
- Keeping it visible. Notes on the mirror, refrigerator, or dashboard help keep your focus. Symbolic reminders like a picture or quote may be easier to display in more public areas like an office or shared space.
- Anticipating failure. If you suffer a setback, having a recovery plan already in place makes it easier to get back on track.
If you have a history of failed resolutions or have difficulty even knowing how to get to where you want to be, enlisting the help of a counselor may be a good way getting and staying on track. Asking a friend, pastor, or family physician is a good way to find a counselor who might be a good fit.