Thinking about a resolution for 2015? You’re 10 times more likely to keep it than those who don’t make a resolution at all.
The key to making it a keeper is preparation, according to John C. Norcross, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Scranton who studies behavior change and author of the book Changeology.
Besides making and sticking to a commitment, preparation includes setting up a reward system and thinking about what could throw you off track, Norcross and other experts note in a roundup of research on resolutions by the American Psychological Association. That might mean avoiding friends who smoke for a while or asking them not to do it in your presence, if you’re trying to give up cigarettes.
Here are five other common resolutions and Fierce strategies for making them stick so that you aren’t among the 60 percent who drop them by the six-month mark:
- Getting fit
- Be realistic. If you’re getting back on track, shoot for three times a week initially, and then gradually build up to six or seven days. Focus on activities that you actually like, and alternate them with walking or jogging.
- Block out time for exercise by scheduling it on your calendar, and setting alerts on your phone.
- Break your goal into chunks — losing five pounds at a time, rather than focusing on 30.
- Saving money or managing debt
- Do an audit of where your money goes, and honestly assess whether the spending is necessary
- Set up a budget, and put your spending on a diet
- Set up automatic deposits in a separate bank or credit union account. Even small amounts add up quicker than you’d think.
- Eating healthier
- Keep a food and fitness journal or use an app to keep track of what you eat. It’s like an accountability partner. Plus, you can spot patterns to fix and reward your successes.
- Add more fruit and vegetables to each meal
- Drink more water. It’s good for you, and it’ll fill you up.
- Adjust your schedule to end activities earlier, such as eating dinner, cleaning up or wrapping up last-minute work.
- Plan nightly rituals to help you unwind, whether it’s a bubble bath or cup of tea
- Turn off the TV, your smartphone and other electronics earlier. Keep in mind that their lights, chirps and alerts are sleep robbers.
- Taking vacation time
- Don’t waste vacation days. If necessary, use some of them for staycations or mental health days home alone.
- Plan trips early. Decide on length of stays and destinations.
- Make a travel budget, and set aside funds — even if it’s just a little at a time.
About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being
We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.
To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life, or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.