Along with singing “Auld Lang Syne” at the start of the New Year, making resolutions is a tradition for millions of Americans. However, while choosing a resolution can be easy, sticking to them is hard. A YMCA survey found that less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolutions. Many (71 percent) tried, but stated that they fell short of their goals, while 40 percent confessed that gave up within the first few months, even weeks, of the New Year!
While there is no “right way” to keep a resolution, the YMCA of Central Kentucky is encouraging community members to give their New Year’s resolutions a boost by:
Starting small. Break those big resolutions into small, achievable goals. “’Getting healthy’ is too broad so reframe that big resolution into smaller, more manageable goals. Instead of cutting chocolate out of your diet for good, vow to only have it a few times a week. Or trade your two sodas a day for one soda and a glass of water.
Taking it one step at a time. Trying to change too many habits at once can easily lead to frustration. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make a new month Focus on that one change for the month and add another (small) change when the new month rolls around.
Keeping the faith. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks. Even though you may experience some missteps throughout the day—or even the week—that doesn’t mean you have to give up. Bad habits aren’t created in a week, so try as you might, you can’t change them in a week either.
Focusing on attitude. It’s important to think about what you’re gaining from a resolution rather than what you’re missing. This can make a resolution feel more positive, and therefore more achievable. For example, you may want to limit your screen time in 2019, but that can be more manageable if you replace it with something positive like volunteering or setting special time aside for family.
Talking it out. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner or friend working toward similar goals. Team up with someone to set your 2019 goals and help each other establish a game plan dedicated to achieving them. Set specific check-ins to help each other out of slumps and to cheer each other during the high points.
“Changing behaviors is a tough task even for the most dedicated and motivated people,” said David Martorano, President and CEO of the YMCA of Central Kentucky. “The new year is a great time to make changes, but it’s important to remember that any change takes time, and the type of resolution you make plays is a huge factor in your success.”
Additionally, many people join a gym or other health facility to help keep their resolutions. Just as making your resolutions manageable contributes to success, the type of place you join is important as well. Make sure the facility you pick is the right fit.
“While we’d love everyone to join the Y, when it comes to adding healthy behaviors like increasing physical activity, it’s important to find a facility where you feel comfortable, but also keeps you motivated,” added Martorano. “Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but an environment that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity.”