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Outsmart the Odds

If you're like most, you have a New Year's resolution. But it's hard to make that pledge stick. By summer, less than 32 percent will have stayed the course. So why is maintaining resolutions so tough?

Ryann Gordon
January 1, 2017

New Year’s resolutions — most of us make them. We pick ourselves apart at the beginning of each year and make resolutions that should inherently improve our lives. We strive to change traits that are unsatisfactory, unlikeable or unhealthy ... and oftentimes we fail.

Although some may stay strong 
on the workout grind indefinitely or uphold a promise to quit using tobacco, others begin strongly only to fail miserably once a couple of weeks have passed. And while there are those who stick to their goals with ease, those who struggle to maintain resolutions need a little bit of help.

In order to stay true to your resolution(s) you must fully devote yourself to whatever cause you seek. That means making a resolution that doesn’t disintegrate once you’ve hit your peak (or after spring break has passed).

Be Realistic
Strive toward changes that
 are manageable in your life. 
If waking up early hasn’t ever been your thing, then promising yourself a jog each morning
 will probably set off your daily schedule horribly. And if you only have time for a quick breakfast, don’t set yourself up for failure 
by completely omitting fast
food from your diet. Setting unreachable goals that simply won’t be feasible with your time schedule and work ethic won’t do you any good.

Need Versus Want
Figure out what goals you’re hoping to meet and why it is that you need to change. Don’t overload yourself with a long list of resolutions that will overlap each other and create stress. What is it that you absolutely need to alter about your being? Do you need to get your body in better shape? Or do you actually need to improve your diet and get more exercise for your health? Once you aim to change what is absolutely needed and begin to see it taking hold in your life, then you can begin working on the next steps on your improvement list.

‍Use a variety of tools to stay organized while seeking your goals, and keep your head on straight. 

Utilize the Buddy System
One of the simplest ways to 
keep yourself on track is to find
 a friend to accompany you on your mission. Make a game out
 of it, like who can lose the most weight by summer. Or who can run the fastest mile in a month. Utilize the buddy system as you make your way toward becoming the best person you can be and you might actually have fun while doing it. Share your success and failures with friends, family and social media, and give yourself an extra-competitive boost. Who knows, you may get some tips from others along the way.

Organization is Key
Losing track of what’s important can lead you down an easy road to failure. Use a variety of tools to stay organized while seeking your goals, and keep your head on straight. Keep a diary to log your daily success or get a planner and make a to-do/don’t list with all the things you should remember. Then set up reminders around your house — don’t open the fridge, remember your running shoes, don’t call your ex, do call your loved ones daily. Also, check out the app store for technology regarding your specific goal.

Take Your Time
Don’t overwork yourself or put yourself down when you mess up. Take your time while striving to reach your goal, because most likely it’s not going to show results immediately. Rather than thinking about the immediate or long-term effects of your resolution, take each step a week at a time and constantly remind yourself what you’re working for. The main point you must focus on is keeping your spirits up and attitude on point. Planning for failure will help you feel that growing enthusiasm that comes when you see results and see yourself overcoming obstacles.