As a new year begins, you may be thinking of ways to improve yourself. Maybe you resolve to lose weight, exercise more, sleep better or save money.
If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, but statistics show 80% will give up by the second week of February. Only 8% of resolution-makers will ultimately reach their goals.
How can you become an achiever? Here are some suggestions on ways you can accomplish your resolutions.
First, think small. Break down the large, abstract goals into actionable plans. For example, if you resolve to exercise more, aim for a 30-minute walk daily, whether done all at once or in small 10-minute increments. To eat healthier, focus on consuming more fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
Second, fix your environment. You can’t wake up earlier if you’re snoozing past your alarm every morning. Move the alarm to the other side of the room so it forces you to get out of bed. Want to quit smoking? Throw out ash trays. Eat healthier? Get rid of processed foods. Make your environment support your goals, not hinder them.
Next, track your progress in a journal. Whether it’s checking off every day you’ve exercised or jotting down how much money you’ve saved week-by-week, the visual reinforcement will keep you committed to reaching your goals.
Finally, be patient with yourself. Psychologists say it takes three weeks to form a habit, and three months for a lifestyle change to become routine.
Don’t be angry if you find yourself struggling. Ask for support from loved ones and be kind to yourself along the journey. It may take time, but achieving your health goals will be worth it.