How To Not Fail At Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

posted: 12/30/15
by: Courtney Reimer

The season for making resolutions is upon us -- which also means the season for not keeping those resolutions is nigh, too. (According to StatisticBrain.com, only 8 percent of resolution-makers are actually successful in achieving their desired result.) If you'd like to be among that elite percentage of people who succeed with their resolutions, read on.

1. Make them reasonable. And incremental, as needed. If your ultimate goal is to run a marathon, but you're current exercise regimen is more couch potato than fitness freak, you might be better off starting with a goal to just walk a mile a day, then work up to running and so on. (We like the Couch to 5k app for this.)

2. Keep a journal. (This applies for budgeting as well as fitness - if you write it down you have to face the truth!) Fitness systems like Weight Watchers and MyFitnessPal are successful in part because of their journal-logging function. Writing it down forces you to be more conscious of what you're putting into your body (and putting out -- MyFitnessPal syncs with the step-counter on your iPhone and rewards you with activity calories).

3. Reward yourself. And penalize yourself, too. Studies show that people who have something literal at stake when they are hoping to achieve a goal have a greater chance of success. (In a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical association, people who set aside money to be forfeited if they didn't meet their goal lost 14 more pounds than those in a control group.)

4. Don't go it alone. Make your resolutions known, and enlist partners in helping achieve them. Being accountable to others if you start to slip can help get you back on track, and also having a true partner in this -- say, a workout buddy -- makes you more likely to stick to it. (Apparently you're less likely to cancel on a friend than you are to cancel on yourself.)

5. Don't give up if you slip up. Just get back on that resolution horse. If you think of your resolution not just as a "New Year Resolution" but part of an overall life improvement plan, if you slip up in January, it's not such a big deal to pick it back up again in February and beyond.