If your New Year’s resolutions have been a source of failure year after year, here are some tips to help make them stick this year.
1. Get 7 Hours of Sleep*
- You cannot form new habits when you’re tired. Period.
- The human brain craves routine and resists change because it doesn’t have to work as hard when a habit is old and established.
- That’s why it’s so easy to relapse, and so easy to abandon your new resolutions when you’re worn out.
- Remember, the brain follows the path of least resistance and cannot distinguish between a “good” habit and a “bad” habit.
*Ideally, get 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day.
2. Be Specific
- Resolutions fail because they’re too vague. When they’re vague, they don’t require commitment. For example, if you want to start exercising, schedule a specific time of day to do it, the place, type of exercise, and the duration or distance vs. saying, “I want to exercise more.”
3. Monitor and Measure Your Progress
- Progress is a positive “reward”. For example, if your goal involves exercise, then embrace how you feel more energetic, less stressed, and empowered from the accomplishment.
- When it comes to forming a new habit, the rewards teach your brain which actions are worth repeating.
4. Commit to 30 Days
- It takes time to make a new behavior stick, but you’ll increase the chances if you commit to doing it daily for 30 days. The goal is consistency.
- Consider the first 30 days as the foundation for creating a new habit.
- When you make a resolution, you probably intend to follow through for 365 days and beyond, but if you concentrate all your efforts into these first 30 days, it is more doable.
5. Own It
- Resolutions often fail because they’re made based on what someone else (such as your spouse, doctor, or parent) is telling you to change.
- Be sure your New Year’s resolution is a goal YOU want to achieve. That is, it’s not based on what you “should do” or “have to do”, but instead, based on something you WANT to do.
6. Keep It Simple
- Don’t make your new goal too complicated, otherwise, it won’t be sustainable. Keep the steps to a minimum. For example, if you’re committed to riding your bike every day, taking a ride around the neighborhood is a lot simpler than packing it up and cycling at a distant location.
- One reason resolutions fail is because most people are initially bubbling over with motivation and enthusiasm, and goals become overly ambitious.
Karen’s Fit Tip: Even if you haven’t kept your resolutions in the past, it’s a good idea to make them anyway. Most resolutions are about self-improvement and the intentions alone instill hope and optimism.