Here we are, mid-January! What that means for many of us is that we've stopped thinking of our New Year's resolutions and have instead resolved to forget that we set a goal in the first place. In fact, according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 71% of people keep their New Year's Resolutions two weeks past the start of the new year. But, as we encouraged you in our three-part series (Eat, Move, Steps to Better Health) on making resolutions that stick, perhaps it's time for a shift in mindset regarding New Year's resolutions.
First, it's not too late to set a "New Year's resolution".
The definition of "resolution" according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is "the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem". Perhaps the definition of "goal" by Merriam-Webster Dictionary will ring more true for your intent: "something that you are trying to do or achieve".
Maybe you set a goal for New Year's, and maybe you didn't. Perhaps your goal was to last the entire year, and maybe you set a goal that was just to last a week. Would you feel confident in saying you have been successful in reaching your goal or at least in working toward it?
Today is a new day, and a new opportunity to think about a goal that will work for you. Participants of the Stanford University programs Living a Healthy Life, Tomando Control de su Salud, or Better Choices, Better Health, will recognize the process for setting achievable goals or action plans. Some questions to ask yourself are: What specifically will you do? How much will you do? When will you do it? How often will you do it? How confident are you that you can achieve your set goal?
Take 10 minutes to sit down today and think about what you will work to achieve over the next week. Make your resolution something achievable in the immediate sense; you can always change it later. If you are confident in this goal, you are more likely to achieve it.
Next Thursday (or at the end of one week from when you set your goal), re-evaluate your goal and determine if you would like to try again, maintain the same goal, or if you feel confident that you can create a new goal building on your previous goal. It may seem difficult to make a big life change overnight. So, don’t feel like you have to! Make a small change, be confident in it, and continue doing it if it works for you.
You may feel like giving up on your New Year's resolution here two weeks into 2014. If it's not something that's working for you or that you are confident you can acheive, change your goal to something you can. And remember, there are still 50 weeks left in the year to attempt new goals!