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How to Win With New Year’s Resolutions

We’re right in the middle of the holiday season, but soon enough the parties and gift-giving will be over. If you’re like most people, sooner or later you are going to turn your mind towards the prospect of making some New Year’s Resolutions.

Whether the thought fills you with excitement or dread, you’re probably going to have forgotten all about them by February. That’s what 88% of the population does year after year.

You can be part of that successful 22%, but you’ll need to shift how you approach this timeless tradition. Here are four steps to help you do just that.

Do it for you.

Many times when we set a New Year’s resolution we do it because we think we should be doing it. We resolve to lose weight when it’s really not a priority for us, simply because our culture pushes the idea of an ideal shape. We resolve to save more money even though we’d rather spend that money on a vacation.

You are never going to manage a resolution that doesn’t come straight from your heart. It needs to link back to something you want, to a why that makes sense to you. If you’re losing weight because you want to have more energy to keep up with the kids, you can be successful. If you’re doing it because you “should” it’s best to skip it.

Write it down.

A resolution which is not written down is soon forgotten.

But you have to be careful how you write it down. Scrawling it onto a napkin or into a notebook where you’ll never see it again doesn’t help.

Instead, consider putting it in your planner, or somewhere you’re likely to see it every day.

Don’t post the resolution on social media. It’s a form of self-sabotage, inviting others in your life to weigh in on your plans. Many of those people might not want you to change, and so may say disparaging things. That’s not the kind of energy you need right now.

Change your mindset.

You cannot accomplish anything if you don’t believe you can accomplish it! Yet sometimes beliefs are tricky.

We may say we believe we can do something but then continue to berate ourselves with negative self-talk that undermines our efforts.

To combat this, pay close attention to your self-talk throughout the day. Whenever you catch yourself making a negative statement, turn it into a positive statement. Instead of, “Oh, I just don’t have any self-control,” try, “I’m changing my relationship with my health every day.”

This applies to anything you’re trying to change: your finances, your love life, or your social life. We can be our own worst enemies and get in our own way, and only we have the power to stop it.

Commit to a baby step.

Setting a broad resolution like, “I’m going to lose 100 pounds this year,” is just too big for anyone to take on. It’s also not entirely in your control, as there may be other causes of dis-ease in your body which are keeping your metabolism out of balance. You’ve got to address many of the underlying factors before you can worry about the result.

Instead, commit to one positive habit or change. For example, you can make a decision to take a fifteen minute walk every day. That’s a do-able change that doesn’t require you to go gung ho. If you’re trying to change your finances, commit to cooking one more meal at home each week. Victory really does go to those who can make their changes in increments.

What change will you make in 2019? Whatever it is, may it bring joy and success to your life.