If January is the angel on your shoulder encouraging you to change habits and make resolutions, February is the devil coaxing you back to your old ways. As the excitement of the New Year wears off and our willpower starts to drift, it becomes easier to forget why we made resolutions in the first place. According to research, only 8% of Americans are successful in achieving their New Year’s Resolutions. But resolutions don’t have to start on January 1st and they don’t have to be an overwhelming bucket list of life changes. January is behind us, but that doesn’t mean our resolutions have to be as well. Check below for tips on how to keep your resolutions — at any time of year.
Pick ONE Goal
Many resolute go-getters bite off more than they can chew (no pun intended). Instead of making a laundry list of resolutions, choose one goal that you can dedicate yourself to. While it would be great if we could lose weight, make more money, spend more time with friends and family, and travel more, we’re not superhuman. Choose one goal and be specific. Instead of, “I want to lose weight,” state, “I want to lose 5 lbs. by March,” or “I will not eat fast food for a month.” These are quantifiable goals, allowing you to measure your success (or setbacks) and continue on the path.
After you have your goal in mind, break it down into smaller steps. If your goal is to lose 20 lbs., break it down into five-pound increments and reward yourself when you reach a mini-goal. If you want to spend more time with your family, dedicate a one hour block that you won’t use for any other purpose. If you want to exercise more, vow to attend one fitness class a week. Breaking your goal down into steps makes it more achievable and makes you more likely to succeed.
Breaking bad habits and forming new beneficial ones should be a positive experience, not a daily rough-and-tumble. When you reach a mini-milestone, celebrate it! Each step towards your larger goal, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is important and should be celebrated. If your goal is to lose weight, celebrate by buying yourself something new, getting your nails done, or having an afternoon that is solely devoted to you. Just remember to not let the celebration detract from your hard work.
Get some help from your friends
Everything is easier with a little help from your friends. When we express our goals to a friend, we feel accountable and are more likely to push ourselves to achieve what we set out to do. Use social media to your advantage and post your goals online. Find support through your friends and family and reach out to your extended internet family to help you stay on track. Don’t forget your Noom group. Groups are specifically designed so that like-minded people with similar paths and goals can support and encourage each other — even when the chips are down.
Don’t give up
One of the main reasons that people stop chasing their New Year’s Resolutions is that they equate minor setbacks with deal-breaking calamities. Changing habits is not an all-or-nothing endeavor. Andreas Michaelides, PhD, Noom’s clinical psychologist and behavior change expert, states, “All-or-nothing thinking is a common thought trap we get into with resolutions. If your initial attempt doesn’t go perfectly, it’s OK! You wouldn’t quit your job after one bad day, right?” He adds, “Losing weight is a journey with slip-ups and setbacks. If you have an all-or-nothing mindset, changing it is an important first step of this journey.”