January is almost over – how are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? If the answer is ‘not great’ or 'I don't want to talk about it,' don’t worry, it’s not too late to turn things around! Read on for helpful tips to keep your resolutions going all year long.
1. Tell your #Squad: Individuals that let others know about their resolutions are more likely to keep them. So fill your family, friends – or if you’re feeling bold – Facebook community in on your 2016 goals. Having the backing of the people you care about can go a long way (and it really ups the accountability factor).
2. Try the 15 Minute Rule: Doesn’t it seem like when you try to give something up, that’s the only thing you can think about? Next time the ‘craving’ hits, take note of the time, and then give yourself 15 minutes before giving in. In the meantime, do a task or activity that keeps you occupied – like scrolling through Facebook, going for a walk or calling a friend. Often, these cravings are a result of visual cues – example: watching a Pepsi commercial and then making a beeline for the vending machine. By giving your brain something else to do for those 15 minutes, you’ll likely forget all about the craving.
3. Visualize Your Success: It’s been scientifically proven that individuals who physically see their resolutions are more likely to keep them. Try writing your goals down on paper, or printing out images of the people or places that inspired them in the first place – like a picture of your family. Put these items near spots that tempt you, like a family photo where you usually keep your cigarettes, or your written weight loss resolutions on the cabinet with the Girl Scout cookies.
4. Be Careful What You Wish For: It’s easy to make a blanket resolution like “I want to lose 10 lbs.” But this type of resolution requires you to take multiple sub-steps in order to be successful. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, a few extra minutes on the treadmill every week isn’t going to cut it. You’ll likely need to cook and eat differently, start a consistent workout routine or even avoid certain places altogether. (Maybe stepping inside Starbucks without ordering a 400-cal. Frappuccino sounds like medieval torture). Those that think through the sub-steps and possible roadblocks associated with their resolutions are more likely to keep them.
5. Rework the Absolutes: Think back to your last fight with a family member or significant other. Did you find yourself saying (or screaming) “You ALWAYS…” or “You NEVER...” The words ‘always’ and ‘never’ are absolutes, and while they typically don’t help you win arguments, they definitely don’t help you keep resolutions. If you made a resolution like, “I’m never smoking again,” try reworking it to instead include a limited restriction. “I’ll only smoke on the weekends.” Continue refining the resolution based on your progress, until you ultimately DO quit smoking.