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How to stick with your resolutions

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New Year’s resolutions. We hold of our big changes and plans for this moment, but then most of us never follow through to even the next month. What gives?

It’s tough to make a big change so quickly. We all would probably like to lose 10 pounds, but making your goal to do that can seem daunting. So we put it off, and put it off. We make excuses not to go to the gym. We eat an extra slice of pizza because “what the heck” let’s go for it! Then you eventually give in to the fact that you’re not going to make any progress.

That’s the way it goes for many of us, whether it’s losing weight, eating healthy, stopping a smoking habit, picking up an instrument, learning a language.

So how do we get better at sticking with our resolutions and goals for longer than just a few weeks?

Here are a few tips from Life Hack that can help you out.

  1. Pick just one goal
  2. Plan ahead
  3. Anticipate problems
  4. Pick a start date
  5. Go for it
  6. Accept failure
  7. Plan rewards

Picking a goal

Picking your goal can be tough, especially when you have so many things you want to accomplish all at once. Take some time to decide just which one is most important for you right now. Maybe it’s losing weight for your upcoming wedding, or you want to learn French for your summer trip to Nice.

Doing everything at once is a recipe for disaster.

Plan Ahead

Don’t just jump right into your resolution. Break it down into actionable bites that you can do each day. If you tell yourself “Learn French”, you will never want to get started because that’s such a huge, scary goal. But if you tell yourself “Day 1-4: Learn pronunciations”, you will be more likely to follow through because now you know you should be focusing on pronunciation and nothing else.

Anticipate Problems

There will be issues that come up. You get sick, get caught up at work, have a trip that causes you to miss some gym days. Plan for this and don’t give yourself a hard time about it, because that won’t help you succeed.

Pick a start date

It doesn’t have to be New Year’s Day, just find a day where you know you can start taking action.

Go for it

If you plan to go to the gym daily, keep a full gym bag in your car so you have no excuse not to go after work. Take your goal seriously, because if you start slacking or giving excuses, you won’t succeed.

Accept Failure

It’s ok if you miss a day at the gym, or forget to do your vocabulary flashcards for French. Figure out what caused you to skip out on those tasks and try to avoid doing that next time. If you notice that stressing too much at work causes you to not go to the gym, try going before work.

Plan rewards

Have weekly, monthly, and milestone rewards for yourself. If you go to the gym daily for a week, you get to enjoy an ice cream out with the family. If you are able to learn 100 words this month, celebrate with something you enjoy.

Resolutions can be scary and daunting. We wait all year until we start working on them, so it’s time to start giving them your all!


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Best New Year Resolutions

It seems like the New Year is the best time for people to start new goals. You can start them anytime throughout the year, but it seems like starting it on the first day of the new year is the most popular starting point.

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If you are one of the many millions of people who plan to make (and actually stick) to some New Year’s resolutions, then you’ve come to the right place. Do you have your resolutions written down yet? The first step towards achieving your goals to make them concrete. Sure, losing weight is a great goal but how do you plan to do this? Instead, make the goal to hit the gym 4 times a week, or cut out fast food.

Below are 10 of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, there are plenty more but these can help give you an idea of something you might want to work on. How many of them can you guess?

Top 10 New Years Resolutions for 2015
1. Lose weight
2. Getting organized
3. Spend less, save more
4. Enjoy life to the fullest
5. Staying fit and healthy
6. Learn something exciting
7. Quit smoking
8. Help others in their dreams
9. Fall in love
10. Spend more time with family
(According to Statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/ & University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology)

The problem with creating New Year’s resolution is that people tend to give them up quickly. It is well known in the gym industry that sign ups in January are very high and then tend to drop around February and March as people stop going. According to the data on Statistic Brain, only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution. 75% of people will maintain their resolution the first week then the number drops to 46% after 6 months.

So how do you prevent this dropoff in regards to your own resolutions? Time Magazine put out a list of websites that can help with specific goals like doing yoga daily or forming good habits. Another tip is to find someone else with the same goal. Having a support system and someone to hold you accountable is a great way to stay on track. Keep a journal of your progress so you can see how your goals are fairing. You can also reward yourself when you stay on track, and punish yourself (no tv for a day or no soda at dinner for a week) when you don’t follow through.

Resolutions and goals are about discipline. If you can keep yourself focused and disciplined enough to keep going then you can be one of those 8% of Americans who actually completes their resolution!


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Resolutions for Seniors

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Christmas is behind us, New Year’s is ahead!  Which means it’s just about time to come up with new resolutions.  But what to resolve yourself for?  Different things are important to different people!  If you’re heavier than you’d like, your biggest resolution may be to lose weight.  If you want to be more intellectually stimulated this year, you might resolve to read a book a month.  What if you’re elderly or infirm, though?  What kinds of resolution can you make to stay positive and healthy and happy?  A few years ago, a retired teacher and widower named Mary Carol Herwood from the Buffalo, NY area wrote a great article to that effect for Yahoo!  Sure, it was for New Year’s 2010, not 2014, but things haven’t changed that much in four years, and she really did have some great suggestions.  She writes regularly for Yahoo!, including some great movie reviews, so you should definitely check out some of her other content.  But for this time of year, this is the article we’re interested in.  We can’t put the whole article here, you’ll have to read it on Yahoo!, but here’s our favorite of her suggestions to get you started!

“I will make plans more often to call a friend to take in a play or a movie, stop for a bite to eat and chit-chat about this and that.”

This one is our absolute favorite, as maintaining friendships and connections with others into old age is, in many ways, one of the absolute most important things to an elderly person’s continued well-being.  It can be very easy to fall into the trap of letting this part of your life go as you age, as family and health issues take up more and more of your time, but the elderly are just as in need of companionship, friendship and fun as any of us!

“I will read at least one book each month.”

Reading is a wonderfully effective and fun way to keep one’s mind sharp, and has also been proven to be an excellent deterrent to the development of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease.

“I will not make any New Year’s Resolutions in 2010.”

Replace “2010” for “2014” here, but the point stands.  If you feel happy and satisfied with everything in your life, then mission accomplished!  So what better resolution to make than to have no resolutions to make next year?

Read the entire article HERE, and a happy early 2014!