How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

By the end of January, New Year’s Resolutions made with good intentions are waning. Do you even remember yours? If not, you are not alone. People typically break their resolutions somewhere by the second or third week, experts say. Some actually make it into February and then after one or two setbacks, they revert to former habits.

With health topics often topping the list of New Year’s resolutions, how can we be more proactive about keeping the resolutions we made on January 1?

If you haven’t done these things and just casually mentioned your New Year’s Resolution to friends and family, such as: “I want to lose weight.” Or, “This is the year I will quit smoking,” then chances are your resolutions will have already failed. Maybe they are just words you throw into the air because you hope they will come true, if only you had more time, energy, resources, or what-have-you.

So, here’s what you need to do. Go ahead and grab a pen and any type of small calendar. This is going to become a place to set goals. If you prefer using an electronic tablet or smart phone, you should still do this.

  1. Begin with writing down the things you TRULY want to accomplish. Not maybe, not hopefully, but definitely!
  2. Open up your calendar and create milestones. For example, if you want to lose weight, write down a specific number. Then distribute the weight to lose over a specific schedule, such as 12 weeks. Write down on a day each week how many you will have lost or any milestones you will have achieved. It can be as small as 10 lbs. or much greater, if need be.
  3. Then, call 3 people who you are close to. Ask them to hold you accountable. This one simple step really works because by telling others, you are really putting your self-esteem on the line. You are confident that you can do it!
  4. Join a goal-setting community. We stumbled across 43 Things, which lets you list goals, share them with others and get the camaraderie you need for success. You can use it for anything from finding a job to health issues or parenting goals, etc. or even learning a new instrument; or anything you wish to do!
  5. Download an app. There are many free or inexpensive apps you can download on your phone that will help you by giving you alerts, reminders, calendars, etc. We found one cool one called “ToodleDoo” that you can use on an iPhone, Droid or BlackBerry, or also on your computer. It lets you set priorities, get more organized and less forgetful. There are many other apps which are similar, so you can look into the one that is right for you. The point is that when you make it on your “to do” list it will work two-fold to remind you and keep you on track.
  6. Finally, just make the commitment. Forget the past and whether or not you have ever actually stuck with any of your resolutions or not. Call it something else besides a New Year’s Resolution, if that works better for you.

Now it’s time to CARE about you! You put so much care into others, and you deserve to feel a sense of accomplishment.