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Crossing the Finish Line: How to Set and Achieve Resolutions

The tradition of setting new year resolutions has been around for at least 4,000 years. The ancient Babylonians were the first recorded civilization that was known to set and keep resolutions based on paying people back. If they didn’t keep their resolutions, it was thought that they would lose favor with their gods at the end of the year. Nowadays, the idea of new year resolutions are less serious, but certainly something many of us want to set. The most difficult part is keeping them past 2 weeks into any given new year! This struggle is common. It’s been proven that over half of everyone who sets a new year resolution ends up quitting within the first few months. It’s clearly time to change that. With a little reflection, planning, and daily effort you can make those new year resolutions achievable and cross that end of year finish line feeling like a winner!

How a New Year Resolution Can Set You Up For Failure

Even with the best intentions, there are three key ways that a new year resolution can set you up for failure:

  • First, new year resolutions are often set based on what others want you to achieve or what you think you need to achieve based on society’s expectations. Your resolutions don’t reflect the desires and needs of your innermost self.

  • Second, resolutions tend to be vague. For example, your new year resolution might be to eat healthier. But, do you know what eating healthy means for you? How will you know when you have achieved your resolution?

  • Finally, you don’t have a clear plan or direction for your resolution

Set Yourself Up For New Year Resolution Success Instead

Setting resolutions feels good. There is so much potential and optimism in every single one. They can also lead to tough feelings like failure and shame if you feel like you can’t keep them year after year. When setting a resolution, or as you review the ones you have already set for yourself this year, consider these 3 things to set yourself up for success:

  • Choose resolutions that mean something to you. Spend some time reflecting on what you really want your year to look like and remove everyone’s thoughts, opinions, and expectations from the picture.

  • Focus on one resolution at a time and make it as clear and realistic as possible.

  • Make a detailed plan. This plan allows you to brainstorm and formulate strategies to any difficult challenges you will no doubt run into.

The Secret is in the Small Things

The small things we do every day can lead to powerful results. These small things are known as habits and they are ultimately responsible for any change you make (or don’t make) in your life. As you set out to create the plan for your meaningful, clear resolution you also need to consider the everyday things that you will be doing to make this resolution stick well after the new year has lost it’s shiny optimism. Here are 3 tips to create healthy habits that support your resolution:

  • Create an inventory of your current habits: Spend 3 days keeping track of your current habits that do not support your resolution. Some examples include how much screen time you consume, how much time during the day you are sedentary, how often you eat fast food, how many alcoholic beverages you consume every evening, etc.

  • Review your inventory and choose 2-3 habit changes that align with your resolution. These will be the 2-3 habits you will start practicing every day. The point of habits is that they are small and manageable. They can be implemented into your life without causing you too much upheaval.

  • Don’t lose sight of progress! Any life change can feel like an uphill battle, so having something to remind you of all your hard work and progress can make all the difference. Use a habit tracker to better visualize your growth.

Final Thoughts

The practice of setting resolutions has been around for thousands of years. Sometimes it can feel like thousands of years when you’re trying to keep one and struggling. Although any life change is difficult, you can make this year a little less so with the tips outlined above. You now know how to:

  • Avoid resolutions that most often lead to failure

  • Set resolutions that you can keep, and;

  • 3 tips to help you build habits that will propel you forward every single day

With clear, meaningful resolutions and habits that support them, you can cross that finish line on December 31, 2022 with new habits, achievements, and a greater sense of accomplishment heading into 2023!

Doing this alone can be difficult. That’s why St. Andrew’s Family Fitness Plus created the Whole Wellness Challenge. There are zero weigh-ins or body measurements. The only thing we’re interested in is helping you stick to the daily habits that create a healthy lifestyle. The next WWC kicks off on January 24th. Learn more and register by clicking here.

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