Simple Tips to Make Resolutions Work

by Iswarya on Jan 2 2019 3:12 PM

Simple Tips to Make Resolutions Work
New Year is here, and lots of people around the world make New Year’s resolutions like Save money, Eat better, Stop smoking, Lose weight, etc. Studies show that around 41 percent of people make New Year’s resolutions, but only about eight percent are successful in accomplishing their goals.
"It's easy to be seduced by the promise of “new year, new you,” only to be disappointed come April. Don’t let past failures dissuade you from letting this be your year. Instead, revise your goal-setting process for optimal results," says Kristen Carpenter, Ph.D., director of Women’s Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Health, Psychology, Obstetrics & Gynecology at The Ohio State University.

Resolutions are just goals with a little holiday flair, and the principles of goal-setting are simple. This year, stick to the following principles to make the most of your resolutions and create lasting change.

"While 'Take better care of myself' is a lovely thought, it's much easier to measure progress if you pledge to spend at least 60 minutes in leisure activity each week. Instead of pledging to 'be healthier,' set a goal of exercising five times per week for 30 minutes," Carpenter said.

Here are five tips Carpenter says can help you re-frame your intentions to create lasting results with your New Year's resolutions:

1. Choose goals with broad impact

It's tempting to try to compartmentalize and focus on one area at a time— “I really need to focus on my career right now, I’ll get to my personal life next year.”

"But a better approach is to create resolutions that simultaneously enhance multiple areas of your life," Carpenter said. 

For example, resolving to live in the moment can enhance your life personally and professionally.

2. Work toward goals that align with your values

Your energy and time are precious and finite resources. If you’re crafting resolutions that are not in line with your values, you’ll be less motivated to work toward them. More importantly, achieving them won’t feel particularly good. 

"Evaluate your goals and prioritize those that are in synch with what is most important to you," Carpenter said.

3. Don’t overdo it

Many of us are already spread too thin; don’t add to the stress by piling on resolutions.  Focus your energy on no more than two to three goals at a time.  Rank your resolutions in the order of importance (keeping in mind the above). Start the year with a few resolutions, knowing that you can always hold the others and reassess mid-year.

4. Find support

Change is difficult, even when the change is good. 

"Find a friend or loved one to support you better yet, join you so that it’s easier keep the momentum going when you hit a bump in the road," Carpenter said.

5. Persevere

Expect those bumps. Too often, people view a lapse as the end. For example, you’ve resolved to exercise three times a week, and you skip a week (or two or three…).

"Change is a process, not an outcome.  As such, change requires upkeep. When you slip, rather than give up, figure out what went wrong and get back on track," Carpenter said.