1. Goals must be measurable from 13 Tips for Making New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

13 Tips for Making New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

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1. Goals must be measurable

Numbers don’t lie, right? General goals don’t work because you don’t really know if you’re making any progress. Besides, they are way too open-minded. Don’t set a goal along the lines of “I’m going to get fit.” Instead, be determined to lose three inches off your waistline or lose 10 pounds.

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2. Set very precise goals

The top 5 resolutions are losing weight, getting organized, saving money, enjoying life to the fullest and staying fit. What is the one thing that describes them all? They are too vague. This is a major problem with picking resolutions, Miedaner says. Spend more quality time with my family is a badly phrased objective. “A much better and more specific goal would be Friday night is games night with the kids.”

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3. Start small with one objective first

Why would you want to stress over more things that usual? Don’t make set grand goals. If your wish is to get fit, then just start with walking more or riding a bike to work, if possible. This habit will eventually translate to going to the gym a couple of days a week before you find yourself there almost every day. Do the same with your eating habits. Don’t go “cold turkey” on the desserts. Replace them with a smoothie perhaps.  Go one day at a time.

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4. Talk about it

Another big reason our resolutions fail is that “we lack a sufficient structure for support,” Miedaner says. “If you are changing a bad habit or starting a new habit, it could take months before the new habit is in place. During those first few critical months, it makes a massive difference to have a really solid support system in place. For example, if you want to go gluten and dairy free but are left wondering what to eat or cook, you could hire a chef for 2 months to get you started. You'll learn how to cook in a new way without your standard ingredients.” If you can’t afford to hire a chef, a trainer or a life coach, talk to your friends or someone you want to make proud. That adds a sense of accountability, which many experts say is vital to success.

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5. Short-term goals is key

If we perceive the 12 months in a calendar year to be its “phases,” just like that one big goal has several stages before it’s fully achieved. If you want to get healthy in 2016, then set a goal to lose five pounds each month. Another way is to incorporate one healthy habit into your daily routine every 30 days. Going at this rate, your 2017 resolutions are likely not going to have anything to do with fitness because you’ll be in awesome shape by then.

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6. Reward yourself

This may just be everyone’s favorite tip. Acknowledge when you’ve achieve a small goal and mark the occasion accordingly. Small prizes are a great encouragement to stay on track. The first few days may be the hardest and knowing that something is waiting at the end of each step is incredibly motivating. As long as your award is not to overindulge on junk food, anything will do. Binge-watch your favorite show, sleep in, finally buy those workout pants you’ve been wanting, etc.  

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7. Know that you will go off track at one point

You are most likely not going to achieve all of the small goals you set before reaching the big one. And that’s perfectly normal. It’s quite unrealistic to exercise four days a week for 12 months in a row. There will be complications and unexpected situations. Don’t hate yourself. It will be a lot more productive if you just note down what you’ve missed and make up for the lost time later.

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8. Identify reasons you might fail

You’ve probably heard the expression that nothing worthwhile in life is easy. You will face many challenges on your way to becoming a healthier person. Try to plan for them as best as possible. If you know you’re not a morning person, don’t plan to exercise before work. If you love pumpkin pie too much, don’t give it up but refrain from having other sweets. Try to anticipate specific situations so you know better how to deal with them.  

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9. Plan your exact workouts

Going to the gym with a clear workout routine planned out is much better than wondering what exercise should be next. The ladder is very discouraging and can create the misconception that you’ve done enough. Having a plan saves you time. Block off a certain time of the day for a quick workout the same way you’d do if you had a job interview. If your goal is not related to your fitness levels, use that time to research on what you need to be prepared for. Set yourself up for success.

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10. Remind yourself that there will be obstacles

There will be days when you are too stressed or too tired to stay on schedule. Have a Plan B when these days come. For example, instead of sweating an hour at the gym, work out only your abs or walk on a treadmill for half an hour. Any body movement is beneficial. Anticipate the problems so you know how to handle them when they arise in order to stay on track with your bigger plan.

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11. Keep track of your progress

Don’t hide the scale or the measuring tape. Keep a log of how much you’ve achieved every week. Seeing the physical proof of your progress is extremely motivating. Also, you can be sure you’ve completed a minor goal so go ahead and reward yourself. Moreover, monitoring your improvement (or not) is a great way to get feedback on cause and effect.

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12. Don't obsess over your goal

Unhealthy habits develop over time. Perfection is unattainable. You’ll have to make changes as you go along. Everyone has dealt with ups and downs. Don’t focus on the grand, final goal. Instead pay attention to what you’ve set to accomplish each month leading up to your ultimate target.

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13. Do it for you

This one may be obvious but it has to be said. No one cares more about your mental and physical health than you. Your body certainly doesn’t care about anybody else. Feel responsible towards yourself and no one else. Ask yourself whether what you’re trying to achieve is important to you and you only. It’s OK to be selfish like that.

13 Tips for Making New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep