Written by Samantha Diedrich
The New Year is almost here!
An opportunity to reflect on the past year . . .
To celebrate what went well . . .
And to confront what might need improvement.
On January 1st, you might update your social media status, announcing your New Year’s resolutions with 100% ambition and motivation.
But then . . .
January 2nd comes along, and you think to yourself,
“I’ll start tomorrow . . . Today will be a transition day back to work after my holiday hiatus.”
January 3rd rolls around, and you’re still tired from holiday celebrations.
Before you know it, you’ve totally forgotten about your new goals for yourself — that is, until your “On This Day” Facebook notification reminds you that you did the exact same thing last year:
You set a resolution for the New Year and didn’t keep it.
We can all relate to setting a goal and not following through — despite our best intentions. In fact, only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are successful (Blue Cross Blue Shield, 2018).
So, how can you improve YOUR odds?
Here are 3 tips to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions this year.
#1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
Goals should be set so they pave the way for positive behavior change. The strongest goals are S.M.A.R.T. goals:
- Specific goals should answer the 5 W’s: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?
- Measurable goals help track your progress and address barriers as they occur, thus they assist with adherence and motivation (Locke, 1996).
- Action-based goals use concrete verbs to describe exactly what you’re going to do.
- Goals need to be realistic; they should be a goal you can attain within 3 months — an ideal length of time for behavior change because it’s short enough to create urgency but long enough to create a new lifestyle habit (Arloski, 2014).
- Timely goals have a definitive start date and a deadline. For example, begin January 1, 2019, and end (at least the first phase) on April 1, 2019. English writer Diana Scharf Hunt said it best:
“Goals are dreams with deadlines.”
#2. Reflect on Your Motivation for Your Goal.
According to resolution research gathered by Statista, the top two 2018 resolutions for Americans were:
- Save money (53%).
- Lose weight / Get in shape (45%).
Both of these popular resolutions require you to break bad habits and adopt new healthful behaviors for success. And that takes time . . .
Simply taking your old guitar to the pawn shop for some quick cash or going on a fad diet overnight is not going to help you achieve these goals. Accomplishing broader goals like these requires making lifestyle changes. And the foundation for a lifestyle change is finding your motivation (Locke, 1996; Locke & Schattke, 2018).
The motivation for your goal will likely be dependent on 5 basic factors (each of which should be addressed by your New Year’s resolutions). Your goals should:
- Be important to you
- Improve your confidence or promote self-efficacy
- Be enjoyable and exciting to you
- Involve a support system that supports you, as well as your goal
- Have milestones to celebrate along the way
Be sure your celebrations and mini-rewards are truly motivational to you and will support — not sabotage — your goal, in order to propel you toward success. Is it:
A new yoga mat?
A new pair of wireless ear buds?
A relaxing Friday night Netflix indulgence?
Be sure set yourself up with a carrot you actually want to chase!
According to Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, one of the most effective ways to achieve your New Year’s resolution is to write it as a formula, something like this:
This year, when I see [X cue], I will do [Y behavior] in order to get [Z reward].
Even if you don’t do the formula, be sure to WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN to add to your chances for success.
#3. Get Help From a Professional.
Coaching from a qualified financial or health professional can be a powerful strategy for successful goal setting.
Financial advisors can assess your goals and help you create a savings plan or investment portfolio. They can assist you with planning for your short-term and long-term goals, such as a new car, education expenses, and retirement. Many also provide tax advice or insurance consultations.
Health coaches can provide support for your goals, hold you accountable for your choices, and assist you in celebrating your accomplishments. Many employers now offer health coaching as an employment benefit — FREE!
If your employer doesn’t offer health coaching, you can also find certified health coaches at many fitness centers. Your primary care provider can also provide support with goal setting or refer you to a reputable health professional.
* * *
2019 is the perfect time for you to TAKE ACTION.
And now you have the tools and strategies for success . . .
- Set S.M.A.R.T. resolutions.
- Find your motivation through self-reflection, gather together a supportive team, and celebrate small victories along the way.
- Don’t be afraid of seeking assistance from a professional to help you accomplish your goals.
Here’s wishing you great SUCCESS with all your New Year’s Resolutions for 2019!
Wellness Specialist & Onsite Wellness Coordinator | Aspirus Business Health
Samantha is a Certified Wellness Practitioner and Health Coach with Aspirus Business Health – Wellness. She is passionate about engaging business partners and clients to improve their lives through health and happiness. In her free time, you can find Sam curling with her husband at the Wausau Curling Club or hiking Rib Mountain with her Corgi. She is active with multiple non-profits, where she serves on the Board of Directors for United Way Emerging Leaders and the Leadership Council for Women United. Additionally, Sam is the current Board Chairperson for the North Central Wisconsin Chapter of the Red Cross and on the Emerging Wellness Professional Task Force for the National Wellness Institute. Email Samantha Diedrich.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Marathon County is a participant in the Aspirus Business Health – Wellness program.
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