Health & wellbeing

5 secrets to keeping any New Year Resolution

Everyone makes them, but few people keep them. Try this simple acronym for successful personal goal setting.

More than 45 million of us make them, but it’s safe to say not all of us keep our New Year's resolution.

Experts say this may be because we bite off more than we can chew, expecting big results in a short space of time.

“I believe that resolutions fail the overwhelming majority of the time because people initially set their goals too high or do not take the time to plan how they will accomplish their resolutions,” says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“It is not about the person. I believe that anyone can be successful in keeping their resolutions. They just need to put a little time and effort into planning and structuring their resolutions.”

Rego suggests trying the SMART theory for planning a successful resolution, or any other kind of behavioral change. Here’s what it looks like:

 

S for Specific: 

What exactly are you going to do? Make it simple and clearly define.

 

M for Measurable: 

How long? How much? What are the milestones you’ll reach along the way?

 

A for Attainable: 

Make it reasonable. Don’t expect to lose 50 pounds in 3 months. How about 5 to 8 pounds a month for X amount of months? Or aim to attend your WW Workshop every week without fail?

 

R for Rewarding: 

Small rewards for reaching modest milestones will keep you motivated and keep you positive. Try not to think of what you’re giving up, but what you’re gaining! For instance, if you’re giving up smoking, save the money you would have spent on cigarettes and treat yourself to a holiday towards the end of the year.

 

T for Time-limited: 

Set an end date. A long-term goal helps you focus on the big picture but keeping your resolution open-ended may result in a lack of focus and motivation. It might be beneficial to break an end goal down into a series of smaller, short-term goals.

 

Don't forget...

Making a plan to deal with setbacks can also be useful. Identifying potential obstacles (like a dinner party if you want to lose weight) and brainstorming strategies to overcome them can help you stay on course or get back on track.

Be kind to yourself – it’s natural to slip up, but it’s not the end of the world. And remember, it’s not always about giving something up. Your resolution can also be starting something new, or gaining something, such as new skills, new friends and new hobbies. Try these 7 more unusual resolutions on for size!