6 Ways to Reset Your New Year’s Resolution
If you’re like most people, you already fell off the proverbial wagon when it comes to your New Year’s Resolution. Studies show that most folks just don’t stick with their plans. According to a study published in the Journal for Substance Abuse, only a small percentage of people actually maintain new behaviors long term. Only one week into the New Year, just 77% of study subjects were still following their resolutions. After one month, that number dropped to 55%, decreasing to less than half (43%) after three months. Six months in, 60% had ditched the resolutions altogether, and two years later, only 19% were still on track.
Surprised? Or does this sound all too familiar? If it sounds like you, there’s great news. You can reset your New Year’s Resolution with a few simple strategies.
How to Reset Your New Year’s Resolutions
1. Fix One Thing at a Time
If you want a recipe for disaster, try to change everything in your life all at once. You’ve gotten used to the way you do things, and you are probably fairly set in those ways. To rip up everything and completely make a 180 is something that most folks can’t sustain. Not only is that radical change very uncomfortable, but the chances of your all-new lifestyle habits lasting are slim.
Instead, take it slowly. Change one or two main things at a time. Want to improve your health? Start by cutting out alcohol or sugar or even simply drinking more water. Want to lose body fat? Start with a 10-minute walk every day, building up to 30 minutes per day. Once you get the first changes solidly in place, then you can branch out and add to your successes.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Make it so easy you cannot fail.” Maybe your first step is just to put on your tennis shoes and step out of your door every day. Or fill up your water bottle first thing in the morning. The little steps add up to big changes when given enough time and momentum.
2. Remember Your Whys
You probably need to dig out your “whys” (all the reasons why you want to achieve your goals) and dust them off. Just going over all the reasons why you want to achieve your health and fitness goals, and any other resolutions you may have, can help rejuvenate those feelings of motivation and resolve.
Pro tip: Keep reminders of these reasons in places where you’ll see them and be reminded of them often.
3. Revamp Your Goals
After you revisit your whys, it’s time to revamp your goals.
- Take a fresh look at your goals and decide if they still fit what you want for yourself.
- Adjust your timeline. Yes, some time has passed, so you may not reach your goals at the original times you initially set for yourself. No worries, just move that goalpost.
- Don’t forget your rewards. Make sure you install some carrots in your plan once you hit certain milestones. And set up multiple milestones along the way. For instance, celebrate process goals like your first ten workouts or your first ten salads instead of only focusing on results like losing ten pounds.
4. Approach Oriented vs. Avoidance Oriented
Have you heard the saying that nature abhors a vacuum? It applies to your approach to goals as well. It’s hard to just eliminate old habits and expect them to stick. Better, don’t remove, replace those old habits with better ones. Striving toward something is much easier to stick with than trying not to do something.
How can you put this into practical use?
If you’re trying to stop eating snacks at night, for example, try replacing that activity with another habit. If you just try to stick it out and “not eat snacks at night,” your chances of success dwindle. But, if you start going to the gym or a walk instead at that time you’d normally be foraging in the fridge, now you’re breaking a habit you don’t want and replacing it with something new and healthy. If you normally go for an afternoon coffee, loaded with sugars, fats, and loads of calories, choose an afternoon tea or protein smoothie break or a quick call to a friend instead to re-energize your afternoon.
5. Start at a Time that Works For You
Make your “fresh start” a meaningful, new beginning. Whether this is a morning, a Monday, a new month, your birthday, or some other important day, let it be a big deal and a jumpstart for you. Having a reset on an important day will make it harder to quit and have to start over again. And P.S., if you do have a misstep, don’t throw in the towel and quit altogether. Just get back on the plan as soon as you can.
6. Stick It Out Until It Becomes a New Habit
According to psychologists, it takes longer than you might think to make a new habit stick. Popular theory says it takes only 21 days to form a new habit, but studies show that number is closer to 66 days or even longer. That means you’re going to have to muster up the discipline to practice your new habits for quite a while, even when it’s completely uncomfortable or you don’t feel like it. But, for your mind and body to reset, prepare yourself for at least a two-month ramp-up. To really get the new habit ingrained, it will probably take three months or even longer.
So, don’t give up on yourself! Be patient! You haven’t even officially had enough time for that New Year’s Resolution to take hold. Just follow the steps outlined above, pick something so small you can’t fail, stay with it long enough for it to become a habit, and keep your whys front and center, and you’re bound to get back on track to actually accomplish your goals this year.