Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Resolutions and How to Keep Them

Reviewing New Year Resolutions


The secret to keeping New Year's resolutions lies in turning the resolution into a goal, making a plan, and keeping yourself motivated. Let's talk about how to do all three.
Time to make your
New Year's resolutions!
Have you made a New Year's resolution for 2017? Better hurry, you're running out of time! Or maybe you don't bother with resolutions anymore since you have a "Fail!" history when it comes to keeping them. That's true of most of us, but you don't have to fail at keeping resolutions. Here are three things to do to keep your New Year's resolutions, along with some specific tips.

When it comes to keeping resolutions, the secret lies in turning the resolution into a goal, making a plan, and keeping yourself motivated enough to stick with that plan. Let's talk about how to do all three.

1. Turn your resolution into a goal. Instead of "I resolve to lose weight this year," get more specific: "I will lose 10 pounds in the next three months." When you're specific, it's much easier to make a plan in order to reach the goal. And when the goal sounds reasonable, you're far less likely to become overwhelmed and quit before you ever get started. You may really want to lose 40 pounds this year, but that sounds so difficult! Losing 10 pounds sounds so much more doable, doesn't it? And when you reach that 10-pound weight loss goal at the end of three months, then repeat it in the next three months, then again and then one more time during the year, the 40 pounds you originally wanted to shed will be gone!

Is "exercise regularly" one of your resolutions? Get more specific than that. What kind of exercise? Have you thought about it? I'd suggest walking, the simplest exercise of all. Set a goal to work yourself up to 10,000 steps a day as quickly as possible and maintain that pace for the rest of the year. All you'll need is a pedometer, a calendar on which to record your progress, and a plan, which brings us to step two.

2. Make a plan to meet your goal. For the weight loss goal, you'll have to decide what you're going to do in order to lose those 10 pounds. My plan would be to simply eat less at each meal. That works best for me and probably will for you, too (seriously, you'll be amazed at what eating smaller portions can do for you). Plan, too, on eliminating all sugary drinks by substituting good, old-fashioned water. (Please avoid diet drinks with artificial sweeteners which actually stimulate your appetite.) Making just those two changes in your diet is a great plan, easy to stick with, and really will help you lose weight.

Walking is Easier With a Companion - New Years Resolutions and How to Keep Them
Plan: Add steps by taking your dog for regular walks.
As for a plan for meeting the exercise/walking goal, if you don't do much walking in the normal course of a day, you may need to dedicate 10, 20, or 30 minutes a day specifically for walking and accumulating steps. Choose a time of day to walk and stick with it. If you miss a day don't stress about it, just do it the next day. Additionally, make small changes in your routine, such as parking at the back of the parking lot when you go shopping. Take your dog for regular walks and extend the walk a couple hundred steps each day. That three-part plan will help you succeed in meeting your 10,000 step goal. After 21 days (that's how long it takes to form a habit) you'll realize that you're finding more ways to take more steps and actually enjoying the challenge. 

3.  Keep yourself motivated. Even when you turn the resolution into a goal, then make and carry out a plan to reach the goal, you'll probably lose focus and lose your motivation at some point during the year. There are various ways to deal with that, especially if you realize that adjusting your plan is fine and much, much better than losing track of your resolution/goal altogether, causing you to just give up. 

Developing daily habits by making the plan part of your daily routine will help keep you motivated. In addition, it's good to plan periodic rewards so that there's always a tempting carrot on a stick hanging not far down the path you're traveling on. Plan ahead of time to treat yourself by buying something special (maybe new earrings?) as a reward for accomplishing half of your total weight loss goal.  Plan to reward yourself with a new pair of walking shoes, perhaps, once you've walked and recorded your steps for six weeks in a row. 

The motivation found in the Life's Little Instruction Calendar will help you keep your New Year's resolutions.
Motivational materials with positive messages to read daily can go a very long way in keeping you focused and on track. Thousands of people love the motivation they find in the Life's Little Instruction Calendar. Each day's calendar page contains a thoughtful, usually light-hearted or even humorous message to help you start your day.

As you change the date each morning, read that day's entry purposefully, with the intent of learning something that will reinforce your positive mindset.  Memorize, read aloud, and/or meditate on each day's message. Tape the calendar page to your mirror or put it on your refrigerator door where you'll see it often.

Apply the positivity you find each day to your own life and let that positivity motivate you towards your goals. And remember that with each page you pull off the calendar, you're that much closer to accomplishing what you've set out to do this year! 

So let's review. I believe that anyone can keep a New Year's resolution if they follow the three steps discussed above: Turn the resolution into a goal, make a plan to meet the goal, and stay motivated in order to carry out the plan. 

Are you up to the challenge?

POLL: Will You Make a New Year's Resolution This Year?

Thanks for participating in the poll, and Happy New Year!

So tell me, have you made a resolution for 2017? What motivates you? Care to share? I'd love to read your comments below.

~ Susan
Read more of my reviews

QUICK LINKS: 
Life's Little Instruction Desk Calendar
Inspirational and Motivational Quotes and Calendars
Record Your Progress on a Planner
Motivate Yourself With a Pedometer or Activity Tracker

"Almost Midnight" and "Dad and Dog" photos property Susan Deppner, all rights reserved




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22 comments:

  1. Excellent advice, Susan. Actually, about a week ago my brother told me that he had begun a walking program - walking an hour a day - and that in a month he had lost 5 lbs. JUST from walking. He said he 'built up' to the length of time gradually. So, he 'motivated' me and I began a week ago. I started with 30 minutes, as that was what I was used to, and carry a timer with me, walking half the distance in one direction, then returning home for the second half. I began with 15 minutes and repeat it when the beeper goes off. Each day I add 2 minutes and am now up to 48 minutes. I wear a pedometer too and have gone from 2719 steps for 30 minutes to 4655 steps for 44 minutes yesterday! One day it rained, so I 'walked' on the treadmill at my apt exercise room! Brother was my motivation and I'm determined to 'match' him in the weight loss goal. It's already been a week and I'm really enjoying the walks! So, you CAN keep your resolution by turning it into a goal.

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    1. Oh, Elf, you are the poster child of successful goal setting! :) That's awesome to have a brother to help keep you motivated. Love, love, love your comment! Feel free to stop by here in a month or two to share your continued progress. Happy New Year!

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    2. I will do that, Susan. If I share my progress, that will give me one more bit of motivation to stick to my goal plan. Happy New Year to you!

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  2. Very good advice for making/keeping New Years resolutions. I don't make resolutions for the year because resolutions are so hard to keep. I just tend to add to my existing "goals". The only goals I ever reach are the ones that I do as you write.... I make a small goal... take small steps.. keep motivated.. etc. Very good advice for today.

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    1. The small goals and steps are so important. I know I get totally overwhelmed when a goal just seems totally unreachable. Starting small and taking it easy - steadily - really does work. Thank you, Dawn!

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  3. To get healthier and fitter. I just have to stick to my routine and it should happen. Happy New Year Susan and the best of blessings for you and your family.

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    1. Lorelei, I admire you so much for sticking to your health and fitness goal because I know it isn't easy for you. So glad you're on the right track! Happy New Year and blessings to you and yours, too!

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  4. Each goal starts with baby steps. I agree with Dawn Rae and Wednesday Elf. Small goals are the best. A good weight loss is 2 to 3 pounds in 2 weeks or 10 pounds in 6 weeks. It stays off better with a slower loss. Extreme dieting is not good for your body. I like the walking as it gets you fresh air. If the weather is not good or too cold in winter or too hot in summer you can walk around the museum or library or indoor mall. I walk around my house because I cannot drive and use a wheelchair a lot. Armchair yoga is good too. I use the natural sweetener Stevia. You can find it at Trader Joes in the uncut form. It is 150 times sweeter than sugar. Great ideas here Susan!

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    1. Appreciate your input, Sherry! Yes, the small goals idea can be applied to anything, not just walking and weight loss. I love your alternatives for weather that's too hot or too cold, and for using Stevia. Excellent suggestions! Thanks so much for participating! Happy New Year to you!

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  5. You have truly given so excellent advice and suggestions! I am the world's worst at keeping a New Year's resolution throughout the year, so I honestly stopped making them years ago. However, I very much appreciate your weight loss recommendations in this article.

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    1. Cynthia, you couldn't be the world's worst. That would be me! :) It's much easier if you look at the resolution as an achievable goal. Glad you like the weight loss recommendations - they work! Happy New Year!

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    2. I'm sorry Susan! I had to come back because I realize I got distracted while I was writing my original comment and never finished my complete thought. What I meant to include was that breaking those year long resolutions down into more doable segments (ie 10 lbs per quarter, instead of 40 lbs in a year) would be ingenious! Something about saying, I want to lose 10 lbs. just doesn't seem as difficult as saying I want to lose 40 lbs. At least, I would have a better attitude facing 10 lbs instead of 40 :)

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    3. I certainly agree with that. Forty sounds totally overwhelming, especially when compared to 10. Then, as the quarters pass, you can look back and see just how much you've accomplished. Same with steps, with saving money, and many other resolutions. Thanks, Cynthia!

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  6. I like your comment about not making a resolution and focusing on a goal. The specifics of a goal make it much more achievable, and having a plan makes all the difference. Good suggestions!

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    1. Thanks, Monica. It's amazing how different one's outlook can be when focusing on a goal instead of trying to live up to a resolution. Appreciate your kind words! Happy New Year!

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  7. My comment each year on resolutions is that I resolve not to make them. But goals, yeah, I set goals. Usually they're of short duration; write two articles today, change out ads for Native ads on five articles, etc. My daily life revolves around my keyboard, so that's where my goal setting works best for me. Nice article Susan!

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    1. Thank you, Nancy. You're very wise to set goals. There's so much more to be said on the topic of resolutions and goal-setting. Appreciate your wise input! Happy New Year!

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    2. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 Miss you so much!

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  8. My goal this year is to learn to monetize my blogs more efficiently so I can pay for the home improvements I need to make. I am alreay working on it.

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    1. Great that you've defined your goal, Barbara! Sounds like you're well on your way to getting things done. Happy New Year!

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  9. As you know, Susan, I don't make resolutions but I do love your simple steps for turning a resolution into a goal. Makes sense to me!

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  10. Good advice Susan. I stopped making resolutions a long time ago, but I do set goals. I think I actually started this with my Special Needs students. It's less frustrating and little successes often turn into big ones. Like one of my ten year old baseball players said, "I love it when a plan comes together!" Wishing you the best New Year were visions and goals are manifested!

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