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tips for sticking to new years resolutionsNew Year’s resolutions are great ways to help change your behavior and improve your health. While many people make resolutions, however, as many as 50 percent of people give up on their resolutions within the first six months. But that doesn’t have to be you. Now heading into February, keep pressing on toward your goals, one day at a time. Keep in mind these 9 tips for sticking to New Year’s resolutions:

9 Tips for Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions

  • Limit yourself to one goal: When it comes to habit-changing and life-altering New Year’s resolutions, multitasking is very tough. Instead, choose your top priority and devote all your efforts to conquering this goal Then you can move on to other ones, if desired.
  • Keep your goal front and center: Remind yourself of your resolutions daily so you always know what you are pursing (and why). Put notes on your bathroom mirror, or your computer, or your dashboard, or set reminders via an app or on your phone so that your goals are top priority.
  • Plan ahead: If you’re trying to save money by bringing your lunch to work, then make sure you shop regularly to stock your kitchen with healthy lunch selections. Make your lunch the night before so you don’t have to scramble in the morning.
  • Be positive: You must believe that you can succeed at your resolutions. While they may be challenging, and change can definitely be difficult, don’t think negatively, or this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Remember the little engine that could? There’s great value in believing “I think I can.” Be confident and persistent in your efforts, and visualize success.
  • Anticipate obstacles: If you’re trying to lose weight, for instance, expect that someone will bring treats to the office, or you’ll be invited to the newest restaurant, or that you’ll have to navigate meals when traveling. If you’re aiming to hit the gym three times per week, and then your child gets sick, how will you handle that?

Life is challenging, and definitely not always predictable. Plan ahead on how you will manage these temptations, interruptions and issues so that you are prepared and not derailed.

  • Enlist support: Tell your family or friends your goal so they can help you. Friends and family can also be a great source for finding a workout partner to help keep you on track. Enrolling in a running club, fitness class, weight loss group or volunteer organization is another great way to immerse yourself with other like-minded individuals.
  • Adjust your mindset: Forget all-or-nothing thinking. Sticking to New Year’s resolutions is more like a marathon and less like a sprint. According to experts, it can take at least 3 weeks for a new activity to become a habit, and up to six months for it to become part of your personality.

If you slip up, don’t give up. If you miss a workout, be ready for the next one, or do a shorter one rather than nothing at all. What’s worse than missing one workout is quitting altogether. Practice perseverance, not perfection.

  • Track progress: Record where you started, what you’ve accomplished so far and your ultimate goal. Use a notebook, a calendar, a journal, an app or whatever works best for you to log your efforts and results each week. This can help you stay motivated as you see your progress. Celebrate success along the way and share your milestones with others, who can add encouragement.
  • Recommit: If you lose steam or drop your resolution, you can always recommit to it and resume efforts. Just because it’s February (or March, or April) doesn’t mean you can’t start over. Remind yourself why you made the resolution, set yourself up to begin again, and go!