Ah, New Year’s Resolutions. Remember those? Did you make any for 2013? Have you stuck with them?
Though they can sometimes get a bad rap, resolutions aren’t a bad thing. We typically resolve to make changes that will improve our lives, our health, our relationships, our finances. But according to data from StickK, a website designed to help people achieve personal goals, January is the worst month to try to make major changes in your life. So when are you more likely to make successful resolutions? August – with back-to-school preparations and new routines – is the best month to try to change, according to StickK.
According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and it’s impressive that as many as 46% of those resolutions are maintained more than six months. But sticking to New Year’s resolutions isn’t easy and 24% of respondents in the study reported that they never succeed on their resolution and fail each year.
But there’s good news too – the same study also found that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. And those who stick to their resolutions for at least three months are likely to maintain their changes long-term, no matter what time of year they’re made.
So what can you do to be successful in achieving the goals you set with your New Year’s – or August – resolutions? Here are a few tips that can increase your opportunity to see them through:
- Write your goals down and put your lists someplace you’ll see it regularly – your computer monitor, your car dashboard, your bathroom mirror. Make them hard to ignore.
- Make your resolutions specific and measurable. Rather than resolving to “live healthier,” you might resolve to go to bed by 10pm on weeknights so that you get eight hours of sleep each night.
- Create your dream team. Enlist a family member, friend or co-worker to support you in your efforts, keep you accountable (we all have those days where we just don’t want to go to the gym), and celebrate your successes. You may need to identify different support team members for different resolutions; it’s unlikely that one person is a fit for every one of your goals.
- Focus on goals one at a time. Trying to make multiple changes at once can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Prioritize the resolutions based on their impact on your well-being and work through them individually.
- Be okay about slipping up. It’s going to happen. Changing behaviors is often difficult work and establishing new routines takes time. If you start to revert to old habits, use it as a learning experience and re-start with new focus.