It’s almost 2018, and lots of us will soon resolve to have a better year. Almost half of New Year’s resolutions are about improving our bodies—to eat better, or lose weight, or exercise more, or make other improvements to our health and fitness. But we know from our own experience that resolutions are easier to make than keep. Research from the University of Scranton indicates only 8% achieve what we promise ourselves in the New Year. How can you succeed this time, even if you haven’t before? Try these four steps from Forbes Magazine contributor Dan Diamond.
- Keep it Simple. The average person has many competing priorities, and long lists or extreme makeovers can easily lead to a failure to launch. Try setting small, attainable goals instead of a laundry list. After all, it’s not the extent of the change, but the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and worth working toward one step at a time.
- Make it Tangible. The more specific and tangible the goal, the easier it is to keep focused on it. Instead of saying, “I’m going to start going to the gym,” set a clear, specific goal like, “I will attend spin class every Tuesday and Thursday.” If you can measure it, you are more likely to know where you stand with yourself and keep at it.
- Make it Obvious. Experts recommend charting your goals in some fashion. In our era of social media, your Instagram or Snapchat account can be a powerful tool for sharing your goals and building accountability with your friends. Many people find sharing their resolutions with others is a good way to remind themselves what they have decided is important. Blog about it, post your wins, share your stories—make it obvious!
- Believe in Yourself. The act of simply setting a goal raises your chances of achieving it. Yet we all hit bumps in the road that throw us off stride. How do you remain determined? In a study conducted at Stanford University, researchers found that people performed better or worse depending on their belief in willpower. Simply, you have as much willpower as you think you have—and self-improvement can become self-fulfilling for you.
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