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How to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Successful

flickr.com (ell brown)

I have yet to make a New Year’s resolution for 2013. Since I can remember, I have made a New Year’s resolution religiously every year. I don’t think I have ever been successful, and in fact, I don’t recall ever remembering what they were by the end of January. This year I’m leaning more towards a resolution that I can actually accomplish – like, eat more steak or something like that. I know it sounds silly, but at least it’s rewarding! After a little research, I have concluded that you CAN actually follow through with your resolution. I will give you a few tips to keep up with that resolution of yours, but first, let’s take a look at a few facts. According to statisticbrain.com, the most popular New Year’s resolutions are…

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get organized
  3. Spend less, save more
  4. Enjoy life to the fullest
  5. Staying fit and healthy
  6. Learn something exciting
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Help others achieve their dreams
  9. Fall in love
  10. Spend more time with family

 

While I think losing weight is a perfectly good resolution, I actually find it a little sad that while it ranks No.1, Spending more time with family comes in dead last on this list. Seems to me it should be the other way around. The thing is, if you resolve to spend more time with your family, and say, do more things outdoors with them, you are bound to lose weight. There you have it! Kill two birds with one stone!

 

Now let’s look at some very troubling statistics – the length people stick to their resolutions.

 

  • First week – 75%
  • Past two weeks – 71%
  • Past one month – 64%
  • Past six months – 46%

 

These are disappointing numbers, but I’m actually surprised that about half the population stays with it. I would have thought it would be a MUCH smaller percentage.

 

However, don’t fret – Bankrate.com gives us nine helpful tips to stick to your resolution this year.

 

  1. Make it something you REALLY want – Don’t make it a resolution that you “should” want or what other people tell you to want. It has to fit with your own, personal values.
  2. Limit your list to a number you can handle – I don’t know about you, but I have never attempted to make more than one New Year’s resolution. Bankrate recommends making only a few that you will stick to…but again, I have never made more than one, so this one is your call.
  3. Be specific – You have the best chance of your resolution being effective if you are more specific about your goal. For example, instead of the generic “exercise more,” choose to work out on specific days of the week at a specific time – “I’m going to work out at the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 p.m.
  4. Automate - Automating financial goals can maximize your odds for success without you having to do anything. For instance, if your goal is to save $1,000 this year, calculate the amount you would need to have taken out of each pay check and have it automatically deposited into your savings account each time you get paid.
  5. Make a plan – Rather than stating one daunting goal, create a series of smaller, easier steps to reach the final goal.
  6. Be prepared to change some habits – This one is a no brainer. One reason that resolutions fail is because people don’t change the habits that sabotage them.
  7. Write down the goal and visualize it regularly – This one has worked for me in the past. Whenever I would go on a diet, I taped a picture of a swimsuit model on my fridge – I reached for the yogurt instead of the goodies.
  8. To tell or not to tell? – This is not a birthday wish people – having someone hold you accountable can be a powerful tool.
  9. Forgive yourself – Don’t be easily discouraged. If you fall off the wagon, jump right back on. Many people fall into the trap of believing that if they stumble, they should give up. Realize that slipping is part of the process.

 

I actually find these tips simple and easy to follow. Even though I believe completing your resolution will be a very rewarding experience, I think the important thing is not kicking yourself if you are in fact unsuccessful with your New Year’s resolution. There’s always next year!

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