About 45% of Americans usually make New Year's resolutions, but only 46% of them keep their resolutions six months or longer. That may be due to the pressure of committing to sweeping life changes without a manageable, daily plan. According to this WebMD article, you must give the rational part of you brain a workout to follow through on any goal. After all, New Year's resolutions are just another set of goals, but all the hoopla surrounding the new year is a double-edge sword when it comes to resolutions. Some people feel they have the whole year ahead of them to achieve the goal, so they delay taking action. Other people may work on their goals right away, but get discouraged when they encounter difficulties. To get past these mental blocks, consider making daily resolutions, or goals, instead.
Willpower is like a mental muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. A study on willpower conducted at the State University of New York in Albany showed that 27% of smokers who did self-control exercise stopped smoking, while only 12% of smokers who didn't participate in the exercise quit smoking.
Flex your self-control muscles as often as you can. If you want to stop eating junk food, and your self-imposed ban only lasts a half-day, don't worry about it. Start over the next day. The more you practice self-discipline, the better you'll get at it.
Making realistic New Year's resolutions with a subset of daily goals, helps you follow through and creates a sense of accomplishment. If you vow to lose 10 pounds and lose it within a few months, you can create a goal to lose 10 more pounds. Ongoing and fluid goals will keep you focused and dedicated. Loose, long-term goals without a workable plan cause frustration and may make you give up on your resolution.
Make daily resolutions that require less daunting bouts of self-control. Instead of vowing to exercise an hour every day, start by doing a few yoga poses before work or walking to the store instead of driving. This will jump-start your willpower, and you may end up doing more than you originally intended.
It's important to set goals, but you need a plan to back it up. Anything you want to accomplish won't happen overnight. You'll need to work on it everyday. Look at goal-setting for the New Year as daily resolutions, not one big pronouncement on New Year's Day. If writing a novel is one of your goals, set a plan for each day. Some days you may have time to write a few pages; other days you may only have time to write a page or a paragraph. Consistent, daily work gets a 300 page book finished in a year – or helps you achieve any other goal. That's why daily resolutions are better for most people than yearly ones.
At the beginning of the year, set aside a few minutes to make a worksheet with all your goals for the next 12 months. You might change or drop some of the resolutions as the year goes on, and that's okay. List everything you'd like to accomplish, with a step by step plan for how to do it. Avoid setting time limits on when you'll achieve your goals. Concentrate more on how to do it than when you'll get results. Enjoy the journey to your goal. Don't treat it like a chore.
Many people have an “all or nothing” attitude when it comes to New Year's resolutions or goal setting. They feel that must get instant results or attain lofty goals without preparation or hard work. When they don't see immediate changes, they write off reaching their goal. That's not how the real world works. Read the biographies of any successful entertainer or athlete and you'll discover perseverance and willpower are the keys to creating the life you want. Luck and talent don't hurt, but you need the drive to get what you want, whether it's a new job or multi-million dollar business.
Weight loss is a goal for many people. But the pounds won't come off from crash diets or occasional effort to eat right or exercise. Talk to your doctor or trainer about the best way to get fit. There are dozens of fitness solutions, from yoga and aerobics to jogging and weightlifting, so you can mix and match activities to find an exercise routine that works for you.
If you want to spend more time with your family, reorganize your work schedule. If you're unable to do that, set aside time before or after work to eat meals together or watch TV, even if it's just for fifteen minutes. Whatever your goals, putting in a bit of effort is better is better than none at all.
Think of your daily plans as mini-resolutions. Keep a daily journal to track your goals and describe events that impact your life. Even if you're busy, jot down a sentence or two about the day's activities. Journaling helps you stay focused and may even lead to ideas you can use for artwork, music, writing or other creative pursuits.
Most New Year's resolutions deal with serious subjects, like finances and health. But one of the best ways to feel better in the New Year is often overlooked. Humor makes us happier and puts us at ease, but it also has other positive consequences on our physical health. A study conducted at Loma Linda University involved two groups of healthy adults in their 60s and 70s. One group watched funny videos and the other sat silently. Saliva samples taken from both groups after the study showed the group that watched funny videos had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and better memory recall than the silent group. Want to lose weight? A Vanderbilt University study shows 10-15 minutes a day of laughter burns 40 calories. Another study shows laughter can protect against heart disease.
You don't need to do stand-up to benefit from humor. Find out what makes you laugh and incorporate it into your daily routine. Listen to a funny song to relieve stress and loosen you up before a presentation. Laughter can relax you mentally the same way loosening your muscles before running helps you physically.
Use your Smartphone, wall calendar or notebook to write down your daily, weekly and monthly goals. Keep a list by your computer to remind yourself what you need to do each day. Prepare for the next day by writing or updating you list at night, just before going to bed. You'll feel more focused when you have a specific goal for each day. You may even write an informal list with a few possibilities for the day and chose one or more from the list to work on depending on the opportunities that arise during the day. Build on your daily and weekly goals, and before you know it, you'll have a completed book manuscript, a new business or know how to speak a foreign language.
Getting healthier is the #1 priority for most people. To lose weight, change your eating and exercise habits. Set daily goals to avoid fast food and high-calorie treats. Replace cheeseburgers with salmon and salad, drink water or tea instead of soda. Getting healthy and staying healthy involves daily resolutions and developing the willpower to follow them. If you “fall off the wagon” at the beginning of a diet or exercise program, don't worry about it, just start exercising or eating right again the next day. If you want to get fit and eat healthy this year, but aren't sure how to go about it, here are a few tips:
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