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Make 2018 the Year You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Published February 14, 2018

By Jordan Ottaway

“This is my year.” “This year will be different.” “I’m going to make my new year’s resolutions and follow through with them.”

Sound familiar? According to U.S. News, around 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February.

With that being said, how’s your resolution going? If you feel your commitment is starting to fade, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to give you some tips to help you stay on track so 2018 can really be “my (your) year.”

First, Why are Resolutions Left Unfulfilled?

Before we can work on our strategy that will help us keep our resolutions, we need to understand WHY our resolutions constantly fail. In short, we put too many expectations on ourselves and end up quitting out of frustration.

Think about how many resolutions you wrote down this year. 5? 10? 15? Well, 15 might be a little dramatic, but you get my point. We write down this huge list of stuff we want to do, and as time goes on, all these expectations start to weigh down to where we have an extremely hard time staying motivated.

Instead of making a long list and trying to do everything at once, choose one habit that you think will have the greatest impact on your life and make that your resolution. You’ll be surprised how much unnecessary pressure it takes off of you.

Now let’s talk about the steps you can take to actually follow through with your resolutions.

Pick a Small Action

Wanting to make a big change for the better is never a bad thing. However, setting the bar too high can only lead to frustration and you eventually giving up. Instead, pick a small action that will help you work toward your overall goal.

As an example, let’s use a popular resolution of going to the gym more often. Say you want to work out 5 times a week. That’s an awesome goal, but it might not be the best idea to try and go 5 times a week right out of the gate.

Why? Because you’re risking the possibility of burning yourself out. Work up to your end goal by committing to go 2 times a week to ease yourself into a routine. As you progress, bump up your gym days to 3 days a week and so on.

Keep increasing until you reach your end goal of working out 5 days every week. 

Write Your Resolutions in a Place Where You Will See Them Every Day

Whether it’s on your phone, in your car, on your fridge, or bathroom mirror, having a daily reminder of your goals will help keep them in the front of your mind and keep you motivated.

I’m on the computer every day, so I have my goals on both my desktop at work and home so I’m sure to see them multiples times a day. Giving yourself a daily reminder that you’re working towards something can help you keep your commitment and determination.

It’s easy to do, so why not give it a try?

Invent Challenges for Yourself

As you’re working towards your goal of working out 5 days a week, keep things interesting by mixing up your routine by giving yourself different challenges. They can be anything. Challenge yourself to extend your workout time by 15 minutes, do an exercise you’ve never done before, or try and run longer on the treadmill.

I don’t know about you, but I hate doing something and not being good at it. So, giving myself a new challenge only makes me want to come back to see if I can meet, or beat, it. Before you know it, you’ll want to hit the gym more often because you’ll have a drive to overcome your challenge.

Again, just remember to make your challenges realistic so you don’t just give up.

Remember That It’s OK to Slip Up

I want to wrap all this up by saying that it’s ok if you slip up and miss a workout or falter in some other way. We all do it at one point or another. The real important thing is how you handle it. Do you beat yourself up and obsess about it? Or do you take it in stride, learn from it, and get yourself back on track?

If you miss a workout, go the next day to make up for it and adjust your gym days until you’re back on your normal schedule. Don’t let one misstep derail you.

This IS your year. Go and take it.

Headshot of Jordan Ottaway
Jordan Ottaway contributed to the Neighborhood Credit Union blog from 2016 - 2019.