01/18/14 by Krystin Olinski
We are now two weeks into the New Year and the line at the gym is already starting to dwindle back to normal. The New Year has become a time when people can leave behind the negativity that may have come in 2013, to embrace the opportunities 2014 will bring and the welcome the potential to unlock the "new and improved you."
According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans make a New Year's resolution each year, but less than half of those people will make it to July and only 8% will make it through the year with those resolutions intact. So the question remains, how can you make sure to make your resolution a lasting habit and not become another unsuccessful statistic?
I have compiled a list of easy ways to make sure you turn your January resolutions into lifelong habits.
1. Tell a friend.
Telling someone about your resolution makes you 10 times more likely to achieve your goal. Not to mention, they may have similar goals to your own. Having someone be a cheerleader who is with you in the trenches increases your chances of success.
2. Break your goal into small parts. Setting a long-term goal can seem daunting, but if you break up your resolution into monthly or even weekly goals, you are much less likely to become discouraged.
3. Group goals together. This idea was brought to you by the New York Times and is soon to be published in a paper in Management Science. "The idea is best illustrated with a scenario: Imagine you want to exercise more but struggle to drag yourself to the gym. Imagine you also have a fondness for trashy novels but feel guilty wasting your time reading them. The solution is simple: Allow yourself to read those novels only while exercising at the gym. Our research demonstrates that when you leave your copy of "The Hunger Games" (or such) at the gym, you exercise 56 percent more often (and 61 percent of people will even pay the gym to hold their book so it is only available when exercising)."
4. Create a "fresh start" approach. Many people are more likely to start their goals on certain times, whether it's the beginning of the year, a new month or even on Mondays to start the week off right. If you find that you are slipping away from your goals, don't give up. Restart your determination the next day, next week or the next month. Just don't give up or get down on yourself. We all make mistakes, the key is to keep going and not dwell on your mistakes.
5. Put your money where your mouth is.
According to an experiment conducted by American Economic Journal: Applied Economics found that smokers who were trying to quit were more likely to succeed if offered an opportunity to deposit funds in an account for six months that they would lose if they failed a urine test for nicotine and cotinine. You can do this yourself with the help of StickK.com, a website created by behavioral economists.
6. One goal at a time. What is most important for you to achieve in 2014? Make sure you only pick a handful of resolutions you want to focus on so you don't feel overwhelmed trying to overhaul your entire life.
7. Define your goal. Many times we create an arbitrary goal that is difficult to define or measure. For example, if you want to get fit in 2014, make your weekly goal to attend at least three fitness classes a week. That way, you can keep yourself on task and you are able to assign an achievable behavior to a subjective goal.
Even though the statistics for achieving your resolutions seems low, you are worth continuing to try to make improvements on your life in within yourself. Good luck to you!
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