5 Tips to Make Your New Year's Resolutions Stick

Posted by on in Personal Wellness

As the champagne fizzles out and the confetti is swept away, we welcome the new year as a fresh start. It's prime time for many of us to make New Year's resolutions to try to become better versions of ourselves. According to Nielsen, the market research firm, top goals include getting and staying in shape to be healthy, losing weight, enjoying life more, saving more money, and spending more time with loved ones. But it can be hard to stick to those goals as time passes on.

Indeed, a good quarter of us break our resolutions just one week into the new year, while just 19 percent of us can say we kept their goals after two years, according to a Washington Post story.

So what can help you make those resolutions stick?

Writing your goals down can make them more tangible than just keeping them in your head. And in this digital age, there are plenty of apps that will give you guidance on what to do to work on your goals. Some of the highest rated and most popular include Mobillion's Goal Tracker and TheFabulous's Fabulous: Motivate Me! (both free, from Google Play).

Uncover your true motivation: Some appreciate making goals into a game, by earning points with every goal met, in IrunUrun. Others find motivation in the threat of paying money to a particular charity if thry don't maintain their resolutions, with StickK.

Meet your people: Social connections can help motivate you to stay on track, or encourage you to get back on if you fall off the wagon. MyFitnessPal and FitGirls use the power of community to help you stay on target with nutrition and fitness goals.

Be SMART: when deciding what goals you want to work on, pick things that are meaningful and can be measured with the S.M.A.R.T. system:

  • Specific: "I want to lose ten pounds to be healthier and fit into my skinny jeans."
  • Measurable: “I'll do this by exercising 30 minutes each day and tracking my food intake while eating a healthy diet."
  • Assignable: "I'll exercise while I watch TV at night and bring my lunch to work each day."
  • Realistic: “I'll plan to lose one pound a week and have the time and energy in my life to work on this now."
  • Time-related: "I'll focus on this over the next 12 weeks and see where I am on April 1 of this year."

Break it down: carve your goals into bite-sized pieces so they don't seem daunting. If you want to learn a new language so you can travel like a native, don't plan to cram it all in a weekend. Give yourself a good amount of time, and don't get discouraged if your progress is slow going. Maybe you can sign up for a language class that meets once a week, with the idea that you'll finish a beginner and a midlevel course over the next six months, and aim for a more advanced course this summer. Then plan your trip for the fall knowing you'll have spent a good chunk of time polishing your foreign language skills.

No matter what you want to work on this year, there are many apps, tricks and tips that will help you stay on track to make 2016 your best year ever.

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