Shelby Cook, LISW-S
New Year’s Resolutions: Setting Yourself up for Success
People often make New Year’s resolutions but need help sticking to them. In fact, over half of new years resolutions fail. Here are some practical tips to help your resolutions last. These same principles can be applied to any goals you have, no matter the time of year.
My biggest advice for goal setting is to set small goals or objectives. Setting big goals can feel overwhelming. When people feel stressed and overwhelmed, the tendency to avoid these goals is increased. Avoidance only makes it more challenging to meet these goals. These small changes can also lead to sustainable behavior changes, creating lasting results. Do you want to be more active? Start with exercising for 10 minutes a day twice a week rather than setting a goal of 60 minutes of exercise 5 times per week. While these small bursts of exercise may not seem like much, they add up. This isn’t to say that additional minutes or weekly workout sessions cannot be added down the line. However, starting small tends to be more sustainable and helps move towards a larger goal.
Make goals measurable. Do you want to lose weight? Assign a value to this. Is it 2 pounds, 20 pounds, or something different? Having a measurable goal helps you know when you have achieved your goal. It also helps assess your progress.
Be sure to reward your hard work! Celebrate your success and milestones. Plan ahead and think about your rewards when certain goals are met. The rewards must be big enough to encourage you to work towards your goals. Rewards can be small and inexpensive. It can be setting aside time to read, watch a movie or television show, or invite friends over. Do not pick a reward that cancels out what you just achieved. If you have been working hard to lose weight, a food reward is probably not the best fit.
Remember that you can set a goal at any time. You don’t have to wait until the start of a week, month, or year. It is always a good time to set goals or objectives that move you closer to your ideal life. Planning and strategy will set you up for success.