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Can the Excuses

Want to bolster chances of actually staying true to new year’s resolutions, whatever they may be? Then consider heeding these tips.

Lindsay Morris
December 28, 2018

It’s a new year, and we all have resolutions, goals and dreams we’re hoping to fulfill in 2019. Perhaps many years have gone by where you entered January with good intentions to get in shape or spend oodles more time with your family, but at the end of the year, you find yourself in the same spot you were the year before, wondering what went wrong.

Nearly half of us make resolutions, but less than 10 percent actually keep them.

No more getting stuck in sameness. It’s time to grow and achieve those resolutions and goals you’re striving for. Not to sound too much like a Tony Robbins’ motivational talk, but it’s time to get your butt in gear. It’s a well-known joke that the gym crowds surge in January, only to thin back out by mid-February. Sometimes, it almost seems like resolutions are just meant to be broken.

Often, what we don’t realize is that the problem isn’t that we aren’t capable of sticking to our resolutions — it’s that we need to do a better job making resolutions that are actionable and achievable. Otherwise, it’s almost like setting yourself up to fall short.

So how do you do it? How do you stick to your resolutions?

Want to bolster your chances of actually staying true to your new year’s resolutions, whatever they may be? Then consider heeding these tips.

Keep it simple
Don’t try to overhaul your entire life. If you do, it will probably result in guilt and failed resolutions. Instead, focus on one or two important goals. Be reasonable and consider your past experiences with resolutions. Did you try to lose 50 pounds and realize that was too lofty of a goal? Shoot for something that is doable.

Choose carefully
What kind of resolution or goal will bring your life to a greater level of happiness and fulfillment? Sometimes that thing is not something we necessarily enjoy doing, such as giving up smoking, starting an exercise program or cutting back on alcohol. But the best resolutions are ones that will make you happy and healthier in the long run.

Schedule time for the resolutions/goals you want to achieve
You’ll never be able to run your first marathon or be more of a family guy if you don’t carve out time in your schedule to do those things. Physically mark out time on your calendar when you are going to do the things that will help you achieve your resolution — whether it’s going to the gym, writing your novel or spending time with family.

Guard the time you’ve set aside
Now that you’ve mapped out times to work on those projects or goals, you’ll be amazed how all of a sudden, everyone will need you during that one hour a day you’ve scheduled to exercise. You’ll have to guard that time religiously. Don’t let anything short of a natural disaster keep you from allocating time to achieve your  goals.

Break your resolution up into small, achievable goals
If you want to run a marathon by April, then you don’t just wake up and run 26.2 miles one morning without training. In the same way, train for your goals. If you’re quitting smoking, make goals such as, “I’m going to go one day without smoking.” Then work your way up to a week, a month, etc.

Find an accountability partner
Our goals are more fun when we have someone to work toward them with. Especially when it comes to exercise; if you know that your buddy will be waiting for you at the gym at 5 a.m., you’ll be more motivated to get out of bed when it’s pitch black outside. Be sure to choose someone who will do their best to pull their weight and keep you encouraged and motivated.

Write down your goals
People who write down their goals feel a greater sense of accountability and have a much higher chance of accomplishing them. Post your goals on your fridge, write them in dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror, or write them down in a journal. Journaling can also help you reflect on your progress. Honest reflection can help you to see how you may be sabotaging yourself or to recognize patterns of behavior.

Get social about it
This is sort of a next-level suggestion. After you’ve already chosen an accountability partner, you could choose to have an extra level of accountability by posting on social media about your resolution or goal. If people know you’re trying to lose 20 pounds, they’ll ask you how your workouts are going. Obviously, this can get a little annoying if you haven’t been diligently working toward your resolution and acquaintances start nagging you.

Work your way up
If you want to make something a lifestyle, you need to be reasonable about how you incorporate that practice into your life. When it comes to exercise in particular, if you try to bench press 250 on your first day at the gym, you’ll probably injure yourself. Implement a wise plan when it comes to making your resolution a new part of your life.

Make it fun
Celebrate your accomplishments. If you exercise every day for five days, reward yourself with a treat (whether that’s a smoothie or a cupcake … your pick!). Be sure to share your accomplishments with your accountability partner or someone else who will cheer you on and keep you going.

Stick with what works
Once your behavior starts to feel routine, it’s easy to assume you have this in the bag and can let down your guard. But that’s when you become vulnerable to missteps. You may think that because you haven’t smoked in more than two months, you can lift your ban on going out with friends who do, or that you can stop keeping a food log because you’ve got the diet down. But those techniques were crucial to your success up to this point, and taking them away can dissolve your resolve.

Don’t give up
At some point, you will likely have a slip-up. So many people use this as an excuse to give up on their goal altogether. If you mess up, forgive yourself, resolve not to let the same thing happen again and move forward. Remember, 2019 is the year you achieve your resolutions as you wisely implement plans for change!

Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions

  • Get in shape
  • Lose weight
  • Enjoy life to the fullest
  • Spend less, save more
  • Find a significant other
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Get organized
  • Spend less time on social media
  • Learn something new
  • Travel more
  • Break your smartphone addiction
  • Eat at home more
  • Read more books
  • Drink less
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Make new friends
  • Get a new job
  • Stop smoking
  • Control your emotions
  • Learn a new language
  • Start being more creative
  • Become more confident and take some chances
  • Reduce stress
  • Do more good deeds
  • See your doctor more often
  • Focus more on appearance
  • Get more sleep
  • Floss regularly
  • Become more polite
  • Watch less TV
  • Become more self-reliant
  • Let go of grudges
  • Stop being late all the time
  • Face your fears and insecurities

Tips to Drink Less

Are you concerned about your alcohol intake? Maybe you feel that you’re drinking too much or too often. Perhaps it’s a habit you’d like to better control. Whether drinking is a celebratory ritual or serves to ease stress, you may be drinking an amount at which health risks outweigh potential benefits.

If the amount of alcohol that you have been drinking exceeds recommended guidelines and puts you at risk for developing alcohol-related problems, you may want to try cutting down or moderating your consumption.

If you are currently drinking more than the recommended guidelines, any change that you make, even small changes, can help you reduce the harm that alcohol can cause. The less you drink, the lower your risk of developing problems.

It’s called harm reduction. Your goal is to improve your health and your life by reducing the effects of alcohol.

  • Limit time spent in bars
  • Watch sporting events at home
  • Never drink alone
  • Don’t drink for solace
  • Count your drinks
  • Don’t have a habitual drink
  • Replace one habit with a better one
  • Swap your standbys
  • Don’t forget to eat
  • Avoid your triggers
  • Drink water
  • Keep the wine off the dinner table
  • Try seltzer
  • Visualize the behavior you desire
  • Keep a drinking diary
  • Decide why you want to stop drinking
  • Make a money log
  • Get your friends on board
  • Don’t rely solely on willpower
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