Ah, the ever-familiar New Year’s resolutions. That magical time of year where anything seems within reach, you make grand plans to improve your life and well-being. You become a member of the local gym, purchase the latest and greatest clean eating cookbook, throw your last carton of cigarettes in the trash, eliminate all sweets and junk food from your diet, and even put a deadbolt on your spending.
The first week is piece of cake. You’re motivated and willing to make sacrifices to change. You purge your old routines and post your goals and aspirations for all to see. By the end of the week one, you’re invincible. Unfortunately, breaking a habit is not as easy as one-two-three.
By now, many of you have already fallen off the proverbial wagon. You’re not alone. In fact, recent research has revealed that while approximately 75% of resolutions are kept within the first week, only 46% of those resolutions remain intact at the six month checkpoint.
While this statistic is discouraging, there is still hope and we’re here to provide some tips to keep you on track.
Make Sure Your Goals are Realistic
Your grand plans may have seemed easily within reach on January 1st, but were they realistic and achievable? For instance, if there’s one resolution that’s bound for failure, it’s the ambiguous resolve to do “better” with your finances. Promises to “spend less” or “save more” are simply too vague. Rather, why not commit to create and stick to a monthly budget, set aside money automatically through direct deposits or automatic withdrawals or refrain from picking up lunch every day to save on your food expenses?
Change One Behavior at a Time
Old habits die hard. Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think you need to reevaluate everything in your life. Tackle one bad habit at a time.
Create a Plan of Action
Use a journal, sticky notes or your phone to write a step by step plan of action and note a start date and projected end on your calendar. That way, you can see your progress over time.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” Prepare yourself for set-backs and remember that missteps are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up. Rather, commit to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.
Don’t Go at it Alone
Enlist your friends, family and community to join you on your road to success. Your goals will become easier and much less intimidating when you know you have a source of accountability.
As you reevaluate your New Year’s resolutions, stay positive and remember that you are making changes to improve your life, one step at a time.
By Abby McNamara, Data and Community Resource Specialist, Prosperity Connection