There's something about the start of a new year that makes us want to turn over a new leaf. Perhaps an astrology reading indicated a life-changing year ahead. Whatever the motivation, research shows that 58 percent of Americans tend to make New Year's resolutions. That's more than half the population, yet only 9.2 percent succeed. What's their secret? Here are a few things the 9.2 percent do to achieve success with their goals.
Know Why You're Doing It
The first step in setting goals is to understand your motivation. Why do you want to lose weight, get fit, or quit smoking? If you're simply doing something because someone else is pressuring you, you won't stick to it. First, get honest about why you want to do it and if you're ready to change. You may have known for years that you need to drop some weight and have done nothing about it. Now, a doctor's visit reveals you have high blood pressure and are prediabetic. This news immediately motivates you to drop a few pounds and get in shape.
Keep the List Small
You may want to change a dozen things in your life, but trying to do them all at once is a one-way ticket to failure. Making changes, especially those involving addictive or unhealthy habits, is hard. That's why it's best to pick one major goal for the year to work towards. Trying to tackle too many things at once is overwhelming and not sustainable. You'll quit by February. Accomplish one goal, savor the success, and then move on to another.
Set SMART Goals
We're all guilty of dreaming about things we'd like to see in our lives. We'd like to earn more money, live in a nice big house, or travel the world. This is called wishful thinking, and even an online psychic can't make your wishes come true. Many have a bucket list a mile long but with few items checked off. That's because broad, undefined goals are unachievable. Use the SMART goals system. Be specific, list actionable steps, and set measurable goals. SMART stands for:
Avoid the 'All or Nothing' Trap
When we fall off the wagon, a switch seems to flip in our brain. One bad day of eating, and we quit a diet altogether. There are people who proudly call themselves "all or nothing" people. Either they're in it 100 percent or they don't bother at all. That approach rarely works when making big changes in life because failures will come along. So you cheated on your diet today; you can choose better meals tomorrow. Don't have time for an hour long workout? Just do 15 minutes. Something is better than nothing, and it's motivating. Taking little steps will get you back on track faster than you think.
While the start of a new year always tends to inspire people to make changes, remember that you can start at any time. If you failed to stick to the plan set in January, nothing stops you from picking it up again later in the year.