If you’ve forgotten about your New Year’s resolution, you’re not alone. Plenty of us ditch our diets and waive our workouts even before January ends. And by June, 54 percent of people throw their arms up in defeat.
But don’t give up hope! Even if your resolution is already slipping, here are five ways to refine it and make sure it sticks:
- Make it specific and measurable.
Write it down! And don’t just scribble, “I will eat better.” Opt for “I will keep a food diary and brave the scale every day.” (Dr. James Beckerman, author of “The Flex Diet,” says these two practices are proven to help with weight loss.) Track your progress, and record that, too.
- Make it achievable and realistic.
If 2012 was the Year of the Couch Potato for you, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to run a marathon before February. Start small, and ramp it up slowly and steadily. If you’re experimenting with your diet or exercise regime, find a doctor or dietitian to help you make a plan.
- Make it timely.
Deadlines create a sense of immediacy. If you say, “I will lose weight,” you’ve let yourself off the hook. (When will you lose weight – in five years? Ten? Before your AARP card arrives in the mail?) Decide where you want to be by February, March, etc., and create your own milestones.
- Alter your perspective.
Your attitude can make or break a resolution. An American Psychological Association blog post suggests that, in the beginning of your pursuit, you should focus on how far you’ve come (“Wow, I’ve already lost two pounds!”). Toward the end, focus on what’s left to do (“Now I only need to lose three more!”). “We stay motivated not just by progress toward a goal, but by how much impact the next step will have,” Dr. Pauline Wallin suggests. “The greater the impact, the more motivated we are to continue.”
- Publicize it… or not?
Many argue that making a goal public increases your sense of commitment to it. (That’s how Stickk works.) But one TED talk cites research that suggests otherwise. So should you tell the world or zip your lips? Check out the research and follow your heart!
Image: Calvin and Hobbes. Full comic here.