Chances are you’ll make a New Year’s resolution this year, so here’s a question. Have you ever actually succeeded with one? Have any of your friends? This year, however, it’s going to be different! Here’s your countdown to success for 2010!
10. Choose a resolution that suits you. Don’t be swayed by peer pressure or trends. For example, if you hate swimming, don’t choose the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon, no matter how cool it sounds. Go with a goal that fits your personality.
9. Be realistic. It’s a common mistake to shoot for the moon—aiming your sights far too high, and thereby setting yourself up for failure. Be fair to yourself: Assess what you’ve been able to achieve in the past and work off of this baseline. The primary example of this is the ever-popular “I’m going to quit smoking,” a resolution that tends to get blown off—literally—during the latter stages of a New Year’s Day hangover. Try a more reasonable pledge, such as “I’m going to cut down each month with the goal of quitting by the end of the year.” Your decision doesn’t have to be black or white. Never eating fast food sounds sexy. But if the car is where you have your most frequent dining experiences, opt for a more moderate plan.
8. Make only one resolution. We all have many things we’d like to improve on, but don’t try to take them on all at once. Focus on one major goal. If you’re succeeding come mid-year and want to add something else, that’s great. January isn’t the only time you can improve yourself.
7. Target behaviors instead of numbers. We often use events like races, reunions, etc., as a target, but make your ultimate goal to change your behavior. That way, if you get sick, injured, or are too busy to participate in your event, you can still succeed with your resolution.
6. Plan in advance. Statistics are skewed by those who make resolutions at the last minute. You’ve seen it. Perhaps you’ve done it. You know—things like vowing to quit drinking after your fifth martini on New Year’s Eve. These resolutions are often broken before you hit the sack. Planning ahead allows you to make rational decisions about what you are capable of. It also gives you time to strategize ways to break old patterns or avoid temptation.
5. Allow for some failure. It isn’t realistic to think you’ll make it through an entire year without a glitch–after all, none of us are perfect. A resolution that doesn’t account for any slipups is one that’s designed to fail. Find ways to make up for mistakes, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Mistakes are part of life.
4. Get support. Announce your resolution to family and friends so that they can help . . . and then allow them to help. Even the strongest of us need support from time to time. For most of the popular resolutions (exercise, diet, smoking, etc.), there are support groups available. For exercise and diet support, try TeamBeachbody.com, the Beachbody Message Boards, or our virtual gym WOWY (Work Out With You).
3. Change your point of view. The mind is a powerful ally. Reprogram yours to focus on the positive effects of your resolution. Instead of thinking about how it might rob you of a pleasure, focus on how it’s going to make you feel happier and healthier. Don’t focus on “cutting out junk food,” instead think “eat healthier so I’ll feel better.”
2. Don’t give up. Throughout the year you’re bound to go through a bad stretch or two; we all do. Hang in there and get through it. Even if you barely have the motivation to get out of bed, stick to your plan. Fighting through the bad times gives you resolve and makes the good times that much sweeter. Remember, “That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
1. Remember your ultimate goal. The goal is improve your life, right? Keep this in mind, and it will keep you going when you slip up. If you “fail” yet still improve, it’s not really a failure at all. It’s a success. And isn’t that the whole point of this resolution thing? Happy New Year!