How to Make Resolutions Stick

by Christa Hines on January 12, 2017

Now that we’re a couple of weeks into 2017, you may be finding it harder to stick with your resolutions or maybe you’re just now starting to put your wishes into action (like me!). Wherever you are in your journey, finding long-term success in our resolutions or goals is often linked to the messages we tell ourselves, the way we approach our goals and the people who we seek support from. Here’s how to set yourself up for success in all areas of your life this year:

Take a more childlike approach.
 Why should kids have all of the fun? Make the steps towards your goal playful and enjoyable. For example, rather than starving your body into submission with the goal of losing 15 pounds in two weeks (which will only make you and everyone around you miserable), engage in activities that bring you joy. Learn to cook healthier meals. Commit to walking with a friend. And instead of slogging through a treadmill workout, sweat it out in a Zumba or Jazzercise class. And don’t forget to offer yourself small rewards along the way like a new music download or new workout gear as you reach individual milestones toward your specific goal. 

Change your story. Many of the messages we tell ourselves are self-defeating. Telling yourself things like “I have to lose weight” or “I need to make more friends” sounds like a lot of drudgery and work. Instead tell yourself that you want to live a healthier lifestyle. Sign up for a cooking class or an exercise class that sounds fun. Be kind to yourself and honor wherever you are on your journey. If you’d like to make more friends in your community, decide that you’re going to be a joiner–as long as it’s something you think you’d enjoy. If joining things is hard for you, choose one organization that truly interests you and commit to that for a few months. If you don’t like it, leave and look for something else.

Visualize success. Create a vision board (check out Pinterest for ideas). Try setting an intention each day by writing it down somewhere where you’ll see it. Squash negativity and celebrate each day that brings you closer to your goal. 

Seek support from loved ones. Goals are often easier to achieve with your favorite teammate in your corner. Talk to your spouse about the changes you want to make and ask him for his support and if he’d like to join you. For example, if you suspect that too much technology-use is contributing to your anxiety and stress levels or taking away from quality family time, discuss ways that you can unplug for a certain amount of time each week as a family.

Make change fun for the family. Your kids will watch you making adjustments in your family’s lifestyle, and they may not like it. They may be resistant to healthier snacks or resent less time with electronics. Invite them to help choose from the snacks that are on your “yes” list, grocery shop in the produce aisle together, and plan fun activities as a family for unplugged time. If you’re trying to get more active, invite your kids to go on walks, bike ride or do yoga together. (Yoga is great for working on listening skills too!)

Seek support from like-minded individuals. If you have a specific goal that others in your immediate circle don’t share, seek out people who do. Take a continuing education class at your community college. Check out to find local groups with specific interests, from running and writing to photography and gardening. Ask moms in your moms group if they want to join you in a specific endeavor. If you want to work on your presentation skills, join Toastmasters. Or start a book club if you like to read and want to meet others who are literary-minded. You could also start an accountability group on Facebook or create your own Meet-Up. Get creative and build your community based on your interests.

Begin living what you’d like to see more of in your life. While you can’t change other people’s behaviors or lifestyle choices, you can change how you approach your relationship to your personal goals and who you’d like to invite on your journey. In fact if you make only one resolution to make this year, why not make it one where you’re having a little more fun for a change?

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