40-60% of people make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8% keep them. US News says that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
[Are you feeling (un)motivated yet?]
Why even make resolutions if we’re just going to fail anyway? How can we be in that 8%? New Year’s resolutions can be a really good thing, when we complete them– they help us be better versions of ourselves. But when we fail to keep them, we don’t just fail to change ourselves for the better, we can feel guilty and get stuck in a “what’s the use?” mentality. How can we have a much better chance at keeping our resolutions? Setting ourselves up for success with attainable goals is the key. Something is better than nothing when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Do you see yourself in any of the resolutions below? Try some of the alternatives and see if they work better for you.
1. “I’m going to do P90X four times a week to get in shape.”
Try something less intense, like “8 Minutes In The Morning.” Yes, it really is just 8 minutes a day of specific muscle strengthening exercises that you can do without exercise equipment. At the end of the week, you’ll look back and see that you did actually work out 4 times, instead of feeling guilty that that workout DVD didn’t make it out of its case. Then build up to P90X, if you want to.
2. “I’m only going to eat 1,500 calories a day.”
Try eating one more fruit or vegetable per day instead. This doesn’t sound like much, but that’s an extra 365 servings by the end of the year! Doing a complete overhaul of your diet is probably not realistic. But eating just a few fruits or veggies more per week will give you more vitamins, minerals, and fiber without having you feeling deprived.
3. “My whole home will be spotless.”
Only commit to making your bed in the morning. Doing this helps you feel more accomplished at the beginning of the day; this feeling can carry over to the rest of your day. You also have a clear space to fold laundry on, instead of having it all over your dining table or couch. Having a neat and tidy bed can spark the desire to tidy up other areas as well.
4. “I’m going to drink 8 glasses of water a day, and no soda/coffee/wine.”
If lugging around a gallon jug of water isn’t your thing, try filling a 2-3 cup water bottle and empty that by the end of the day. Add some lemon, berries, or cucumber slices for variety. Be realistic about your soda or wine habit, and aim to have 1-2 sodas a week instead of daily, or to have alcohol twice a month instead of weekly.
5. “I’m not buying ANYTHING extra or unnecessary in 2018.”
Try changing up your shopping habits instead; cutting out shopping completely is pretty difficult to do. Buy your groceries at a grocery store instead of places like Target and Walmart that carry thousands of other tempting non-food items. If a store like Walmart is your only grocery option, consider the curbside pick up in order to stay out of the store. Try limiting Target/Walmart/Costco trips to once a month, and bring a list. Try saying to yourself, “I’ll buy one beauty product a month” instead of “I’m cutting them out completely,” if it helps you stay on track.
6. “I’m only eating out once a month.”
Try switching up how you eat out instead. A cheaper taco place instead of an upscale one will save on your overall bill. Picking up take-out will save you the 15-20% tip of dining in, or save you delivery charges. Choose places that offer large portions of meals that include a salad and bread, and you’ll have enough for leftovers the next day.
7. “I’m going to read a book per week or month.”
Aim to read for 15 minutes a day. You may only get through a book or two this year, but that’s still better than not reading at all. Or, schedule a time once or twice a week as a devotional time. It may not be as much as you want, but if sticking to once or twice a week actually gets accomplished, it’s better than nothing at all.
8. “I’m finally going to go on that dream vacation.”
Be honest with yourself if this is really affordable without putting it on a credit card, and if it isn’t, plan an alternative while you save for it. Don’t give up on your dream entirely, but don’t max out your credit cards for it either. Plan a weekend trip and set aside a certain amount of money every week or month for the “dream” trip.
Doing something more affordable in the meantime like going to the beach, hiking, camping, or getting a Groupon deal for a local waterpark can help you stay motivated to save for the bigger trip. It’s less discouraging than not doing anything at all until you can afford your dream vacation. And you’ll get to make great memories with your kids! I would love to go on a real safari trip, but in the meantime, we go to the zoo often with a “pay once, come back all year” membership, haha!
9. “I’m going off of Facebook/the internet/TV entirely.”
I don’t know anyone who has succesfully done this. How hard is this to achieve? When people do, they write books about it and end up on the news. I’m serious. We are that dependent on (and addicted to) technology. (Read about Paul Miller’s “no internet” journey here). Knowing this, try a few more realistic goals: Try a “No Social Media Sunday” or removing time-wasting apps from your phone. Clean out your DVR and only save the things that you are truly interested in watching. Your most extreme option: ask your spouse or a friend to change the password to your most over-used app or website. Then you’ll only be able to access it when they’re around to enter the password for you!
10. “I’m finally going to take time for myself and go get a manicure, massage, etc.”
There’s many things that can hinder this goal from happening– maybe the cost, maybe the availability of a good babysitter or transportation. If you find that these things keep you from self-care, check out “Do You Have A Joy List?” for ideas of ways to relax and renew at home.
What are your do-able New Year’s resolutions? Please share in the comments!