5 ways to keep your resolutions strong all year long

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Well here we are, rounding the end of January. By now, are some of the resolutions you set for the New Year staring to fade? You are not alone. It has been cited that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are kept. With odds like that, it is a wonder why anyone sets resolutions in the first place. But if you are determined to start a healthy habit or make a change, do not despair! Here are 5 simple ways to help you achieve your goals and be part of the 8% who succeed.

1 – Create intentions, not resolutions.
By definition, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. An intention is an aim or plan. When working on setting goals for yourself a decision to make a change is where you start, but an intention is needed to bring the goal into fruition. It is the intention that will create a purpose and a path towards achieving whatever you set your mind to.

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2 – Be realistic, minimize the expectations.
Let’s say your goal is to run a marathon or lose 30 lbs. Understand that it may take many months, maybe even a year to achieve this. Know that in 2 months you may only be able to run 10 miles or  you may only be able to lose 8 lbs. Be okay with that. Don’t expect your intentions to happen overnight. For greater success, set short term, realistic goals for yourself. For example, if a marathon is your goal, task yourself with the ability to run 5 miles without stopping by the end of month one. Then tack on an additional 1-2 miles each month. If it is weight you want to lose, set a goal each month for how much you want to lose.  Write down how you plan to achieve your objectives. If needed, set daily targets for yourself. Above all, be patient with yourself and mindful not to set unrealistic expectations.

3 – Find an accountability buddy.
Find a friend who has set an resolution/intention for themselves and be each other’s cheerleader, counselor, and support system. Set up weekly touch base sessions so you can share what is working, what is not working, and brainstorm ideas on how to resolve the bumps in the road. We are hardest on ourselves, so to have a friend who can support you when you are struggling and celebrate when you succeed will only help you to stay motivated towards achieving your goals.

4 – Change the dialog.
I was at circuit training class recently and to motivate us the instructor said “Lunge deeper. Just imagine how you will look in your favorite shorts this Spring.”  This gave me pause and my internal thought was ‘what if we switched this dialog?’ What if instead of focusing on how we think we look, we focus on how we want to feel? Instead of saying ‘I want to see my muscle-toned thighs fit into size 6 daisy dukes’, say ‘ I want to feel strong, sexy and confident in whatever I wear.’
Please know, I am not calling out this instructor. We all have become conditioned to focus on how we look in comparison to others. But our bodies are all very different. When we focus on a body part our natural inclination is to relate to the images we see in magazines and on TV. It is difficult not to compare ourselves to the standards that are being presented. But by shifting our focus to emotions, we can truly personalize our experience to setting our goals on how we want to feel;  Which hopefully leads to greater success in achieving our goals.

5 – Just keep going.
There are always going to be bumps in the road. When you miss a day at the gym or indulge in a cookie, do not get discouraged. And definitely do not quit your intention.  Just get back up, brush that dirt off your shoulders, and pick up where you left off. As long as you keep moving forward, you are moving closer to your goal. And that is all that matters.

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