We're less than a week into the new year and we're already casting major side-eye at our resolutions. Why are they such a challenge to stick to? Why does it always feel against our good nature to embrace a healthier, more positive version of ourselves? It's not us that's broken though. It's the idea of resolutions that is failing us. Here's how we can do better:
1. Set goals, not resolutions: We all know that resolutions are made to be broken. We set them too high, too lofty and we often set ourselves up to fail from the get-go. If there is an area of your life you're working on, set specific and measurable goals for the day, week, month, quarter and maybe even the year. Don't expect to go from zero to 100 overnight though. So, if for example you set a goal of working out more in 2017, you might say in January you want to go to the gym twice a week. Once you comfortably accomplish that, think of how you might kick your goals up a notch for February and go from there. The key is taking the goal one milestone at a time.
2. Remember your why: Connecting to your reason for change is a great way to stay on track. If your goal is to lose weight so you can have more energy to play with your kids, focus on that not just the weight loss. Imagine how you'll feel running with them at the playground, going on bike rides or playing hide and seek. Hold on to that feeling. Finding the real meaning in your goals will keep you connected to the bigger picture. Keep constant reminders with you all day. Maybe it's a picture of your child on your desk at work, or your favorite positive affirmation. Whatever it is, make sure your why is visible so you remember it throughout the day.
3. Keep yourself accountable: A recent study found that those who go it alone at the gym have a 43% dropout rate over the year while those who workout with a partner dropout at a rate closer to 6%. And for good reason. The positivity and camaraderie we find in groups keeps us on track and moving towards the bigger picture. If you have a big goal on your list for 2017, phone a friend and ask them to keep you accountable. Break your goal down into attainable chunks and update your friend weekly on your progress.
4. Forgive and reboot: Change is not about perfection, it's about progress. If you find yourself falling short, don't get stuck in shaming or white-knuckling yourself. Simply forgive yourself, (you are human after all) reboot and vow to do better next time.