New Year’s resolutions start out with high hopes. We want to lose weight, eat healthier, spend more time with our loved ones, quit smoking, fall in love … and the list goes on. We begin with the best of intentions, but what happens shortly—as in the first week of January—is another story.

Did you know that only an estimated 8 percent of adults that set a New Year’s resolution actually fulfill it? 1 That is the sad reality, but it doesn’t have to happen to you.

Here are five hacks to help you stick to your New Year’s resolution, all the way to success.

1. Get Real

Most people who make New Year’s resolutions set goals like this: Lose 25 pounds. Quit smoking. Get organized. But what they don’t realize is that on the way to achieving those goals, there are going to be a lot of obstacles. This is the number one reason people fail (or quit) their New Year’s resolutions. They simply don’t understand what it really takes to get there. Avoid this common pitfall by setting smaller, more easily attainable goals.

For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to lose 25 pounds, your goals should look more like this:

· Drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water today.
· Replace one sweet treat with a piece of fresh fruit.
· Make a healthy lunch the night before work, and bring it into the office every day this week.

Achieving one small step at a time is how bigger goals get achieved.

2. Make a Friend

Never underestimate the amount of naysayers you will encounter on your way to achieving your New Year’s resolution. No matter what your goal is, there will be people who simply don’t care, and they can make it all too easy to slide back into your old habits. While you cannot always keep those people away, you can reduce your temptation to backslide by making like-minded friends. If your New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking, do yourself a favor and stop hanging out by the ashtrays. Make a non-smoking friend instead. The support can make all the difference.

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3. Get Online

There are tons of resources on the web to help you achieve your New Year’s resolution. No matter what your resolution is – there’s an online community for that! Check with Google to find information online about your specific goal, and tips on how to reach it. Knowledge is power, so get online for diet tips, non-smokers support group meeting times, and online forums to share ideas, motivation and tips for success.

If you are too shy to make new friends, just go online. Studies have shown that social support can reduce stress and anxiety – helping you to reach your goal.2

4. Keep Your Eye on the Prize

If you want to achieve a goal, it is important to remember it. It may sound silly, but keeping your goals present in your mind’s eye is a great way to actually achieve them. Researchers found that for people trying to lose weight, those who weighed themselves daily were able to lose more weight than those who did not.3,4

5. Don’t Count on Willpower

Willpower is strong when we first start working on a resolution, but it can wane with the passage of time. In order to keep your willpower from giving out and leaving you behind (with the rest of the New Year’s resolution quitters), give yourself some credit. Keep in mind that it is normal to want to quit or give up on your resolution. Every week that you complete a smaller piece of your big New Years resolution goal, allow yourself a small cheat. For example, if your goal is to lose 25 pounds, give yourself permission to indulge in a “cheat” meal every weekend, as you continue to check smaller goals off of your list. This will help keep you from relying on willpower alone.

Rewarding yourself for small successes is a great way to stay motivated until all of the work is done.

2017 is your year! This year you CAN keep your New Year’s resolution and achieve your ultimate goal. Just use these five hacks for sticking to it, and by March you’ll be wondering why you waited so long to be so awesome.

Sources:


1. Statistic Brain. New Years Resolution Statistics. December 11, 2016. http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

2. Evans O, Steptoe A. Social support at work, heart rate, and cortisol: a self-monitoring study. J Occup Health Psychol. 2001 Oct;6(4):361-70.

3. Robert W. Jeffery, Wendy M. Bjornson-Benson. Correlates of weight loss and its maintenance over two years of follow-up among middle-aged men. Preventive Medicine. Volume 13, Issue 2, March 1984, Pages 155-168.
4. Jeffrey J VanWormer, Simone A French. The Impact of Regular Self-weighing on Weight Management: A Systematic Literature Review. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2008.

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