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How to Make Resolutions Work


A few days into the New Year - and here's the big question.. who's making New Year's Resolutions? I know a lot of people who have abandoned the practice completely, but there is something to be said about a fresh start in a new year to make changes that you've been wanting to see for weeks, months, or more!


Have you heard the statistic about New Years Resolutions? 43% of all resolutions are abandoned by February, and only 9% make it through the end of the year! 9 percent! Those odds are pretty well stacked against us, wouldn't you agree?


So what is it about resolutions that are so difficult to maintain? Is it a lack of commitment? Lack of desire for change? The tradition is said to have started in ancient times with the Babylonian culture, thousands of years ago. You'd think we would have this figured out by now.


So what's the solution? How do we make these work?


Maybe instead of committing to huge lifestyle changes or unattainable goals, get out a piece of paper and pen and start with these three things:

I will start: ______.

I will stop ______.

I will be ______.


Then think of a few things you can do to help you achieve these things!


For example: I will start taking better care of myself.

A great goal, but broad and it's not an easy thing to achieve without giving yourself some direction. So break it down: In order to take better care of myself, I can take a yoga class once a week, I can plan out my meals ahead of time to avoid fast food, I will spend 10 minutes writing out things I'm thankful for before I go to bed. Big goals are hard to achieve without action points or baby steps. Breaking your goals down into achievable, actionable steps is key to bringing your goal (a new year resolution or any goal you may have!) to fruition.


Another great way to help make your resolutions come to life is to get accountability. This can be with a friend or family member, or even just with yourself! If you'd like to keep this goal private, set a calendar reminder once a month for the next year that keeps your goal top of mind. If you fall off the wagon for a couple weeks, your phone will remind you at the first of the next month and you can refocus your efforts to continue working toward your goal.


If you would like to get a friend or family member involved in your accountability, ask them to send you a monthly reminder or check-in to stay on top of your goal and see if you need any help. Make sure you pick someone you feel you can be honest with, so if you're struggling to keep up, you can share that with them and they may be able to find ways to help!


Create goals that are not black & white.

Putting unrealistic expectations on yourself is going to set you up to fail, and as soon as we feel like we've failed, our instinct is to walk away from the goal altogether. (Remember the 9%?) Choosing goals that are broader are going to help keep you on track. Instead of saying, "I will lose 10 pounds every month", focus on your overall wellness, your eating habits, moving your body in ways that make you feel good, strong, and at peace. You'll be much less likely to abandon ship if your goal is more well-rounded and not black and white.


My last piece of advice is to be kind to yourself. We know that 91% of resolutions fall through the cracks. Even with our best efforts and accountability and action steps, life happens. We may lose a loved one or hit a financial burden we weren't expecting. You may move to a new city or go on a long road trip. Life happens, and you're allowed to get pulled away from these new things. Be kind to yourself. You can keep trying even if you "fall off the wagon" or forget to meal plan for a month. Start again the next month. The point of resolutions is to push ourselves to see change and growth. Even if you stick to it 50% of the time, that's 6 more months of growth than you would have had if you had given up after your first slip up.


So what are YOUR New Year's Resolutions? What action steps are you taking to make those happen this year? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or in an email. Feel free to reach out at sandy@sandyclements.com or by message on Facebook or Instagram!


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