If you’re anything like most people, you’ve probably made at least one New Year’s resolution — usually to eat healthier, lose weight, quit smoking or get organized.
Details aside, it’s easy to see why New Year’s is the time of year when people are most likely to make a change: It’s a fresh start, and you get to think about things in a new way.
New Year’s resolutions are great because they’re not specific enough to be overwhelming. But they’re also vague enough that they can easily fall by the wayside.
In fact, only 8 percent of Americans say they’ve kept their New Year’s resolutions for more than six months after making them.
Here are some tips to keep your New Year’s resolutions:
1) Make your resolution realistic: If you try something that seems too difficult — like giving up sugar or giving up refined foods — then you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you want to quit smoking, for example, don’t try to go cold turkey. Consider using nicotine patches or gum instead.
2) Don’t start too many at once: Don’t try to change too much about yourself at once. More often than not, the more changes you make at once the less likely you are to succeed in any of them (because of lack of focus). The more changes you make at once may not seem like a lot but they add up fast.
3) Be honest about what you’ve done in the past. Don’t set unrealistic goals based on what you wish you had done or what someone else has done. Instead, be honest about your history and your current level of ability. If you never exercised before, don’t expect yourself to go from couch potato to marathon runner overnight.
4) Break it up into daily tasks and manageable chunks. Instead of resolving to go running every day for a year, set a more realistic goal of going three times a week for a month. Or set a monthly goal of doing something fun (like cooking a new recipe) once a week instead of every day for an entire year.