A brand new year is a chance for a new beginning. One way to start fresh is by creating a New Year's Resolution – It's a great time to commit to making a positive change in your life. If last year's resolution for the New Year went unachieved, don't worry – you're not alone. According to a survey conducted by the University of Scranton, only about 8 percent of people who made a New Year's Resolution for 2015 were successful in achieving it.
Now that 2016 is right around the corner, it's time to create new goals and decide what your resolution will be. Don't let this year's ambition get brushed under the rug like the last. Follow these nine tips to help keep and maintain your New Year's Resolution.
1. Make your resolution something you really want
In order to stick to your New Year's resolution, it's important to make sure it's something you really want to change. Don't make it a goal that someone is trying to convince you to achieve. The resolution has to fit with your own personal values; not your mother's or significant other's.
2. Start small for a better chance of achieving
The American Psychological Association recommended starting small to increase your chance of sticking to your goal. For instance, if your resolution is to exercise more often, simply schedule three or four times a week to go to the gym instead of seven. Or, if you want to diet and eat healthier, consider replacing your usual chocolate cake with Greek yogurt for dessert. This will eliminate the feeling of dieting being used as punishment.
3. Replace unhealthy behaviors one at a time
Choosing to replace an unhealthy habit is a common New Year's Resolution. Instead of getting rid of all of your bad behaviors at once, eliminate them one at a time. If your goal is to lose weight and quit smoking at the beginning of the year, choose one habit to eliminate and wait to get rid of the other until you have accomplished the first goal.
4. Don't get upset over mistakes
Always remember: Nobody is perfect. If you fall back on your resolution and find yourself upset over it – don't worry, it's normal. It's okay to make mistakes, just take the setback in stride, recover and get yourself back on track by recommitting to your goal.
5. Stick with one resolution
Nothing screams stressed out quite like making a to-do list of 100 things to accomplish. Instead of aiming for a million resolutions, simply choose one. In Tips for Keeping your New Year's Resolution, Kirsti A. Dyer, MD suggested picking one realistic, attainable goal and achieving it within a reasonable time frame.
6. Write it down
Make a plan for your resolution and put it on paper. Organize it by planning what you want to accomplish and when you want to have it achieved by. Check back on your resolution sheet every once in awhile to take notes on your success. This is a great way to keep track of your progress.
7. Reward yourself
After you've set and achieved your goal, make sure to congratulate yourself. Rewards are a great motivational tool for accomplishing your goal. Write down your goal and reward and look at it every day for encouragement.
8. Be specific
Author Richard O'Connor told Bankrate that in order to be effective, your resolution needs to be very specific. If your goal is to go to the gym more, make a set schedule of which days you'll be going. If you want to cut back on sugary foods, specifically state which ones you'll be eliminating from your diet. Being precise can help motivate you to stay on track by reminding you exactly what you need to do.
9. Talk about your goals
In order to be more comfortable with the experience, the APA suggested sharing your goals with family and friends. Having someone to share the struggles you've gone through and the progress you've made can help make the journey to an improved lifestyle easier and a lot less intimidating.