Lose weight. Eat healthier. Quit smoking. These are all popular New Year’s resolutions that are often only kept for a short time, if at all.
About 40% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution, most of which are abandoned by February, according to researchers at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
But Bernadette Melnyk, vice president for health promotion and chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State, has some tips to help you make your resolutions stick:
- Set a realistic, specific, 30-day goal. The more specific and realistic the goal, the more likely it will be achieved.
- Break big goals down into small ones, and try to tackle one small change for 30 days. Many resolutions fail because people try too much, too fast.
- Write your goal down and put it where you can see it every day. Keep a journal of your successes and write encouraging messages to yourself.
- Visualize yourself accomplishing your goal and celebrating your success. If you have a positive attitude, you’re more likely to achieve your goal.
- Share your resolution with a friend or family member, and enlist them to help support your effort with encouraging texts and calls as you let them in on your progress.
- Work toward your goal one day at a time. You can always start again if you fall behind or forget a day. Be patient and kind to yourself. Remember it can take 30 to 60 days to make a new habit stick or to break an old one.
For more on keeping your resolutions, head to the American Psychological Association.