Break the cycle: Tips for keeping New Year’s resolutions past January

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Break the cycle: Tips for keeping New Year’s resolutions past January

Kendall Valan, Contributor

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It seems so easy at the stroke of midnight to make a New Year’s resolution. But following through with your plan a few days, let alone a couple months, later is another story. Everything looks more achievable when you know the calendar is giving you the chance at a fresh start. For some it is just the motivation they need to kick-start their goals to becoming a better version of themselves.

Unfortunately, the statistics consistently act as the bearer of bad news. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Scranton, nearly half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year, but only eight percent are likely to succeed. To give a glimpse of hope, people in their twenties were about 30 percent more likely to succeed with a resolution each year than any other age group.

Sure, the gym may become a little overcrowded, and the salad line at Romo’s could double in length for the first month or two, but eventually everything falls back to the status quo. People become discouraged by the daunting task or distracted with other obligations. But not all hope is lost-The following are tricks to keep on the path of success.

1. Come on, be realistic: One of the biggest problems that some people have with their resolution is simply aiming too high. Resolving to lose half your body weight or hoping to become an instant lady-killer is silly and just plain unrealistic. Also don’t create a full bucket list for the New Year hoping something will work out for you. Focus on only one or two reasonable resolutions.

2. Is this something you really want?
Your resolution should not be based off of other’s expectations. Don’t force yourself into something because it “should” be what you want. It has to fit in place with your own values. You will also become more motivated if it is a goal you really want to achieve.

3. Weigh the outcome: 
Make a “pro” and “con” list to help see how your hard work will truly benefit you in the long run.  If you are able to look at your goals written down, it may help keep your motivation strong. Develop the list over time, and ask your friends and family for their opinion to get an outside perspective. Keep your list posted somewhere that you will be able to revisit it daily and refer to it when you need positive reinforcement.

4. Make a game plan: Instead of thinking “Sure, I’d like to exercise more,” plan a workout routine. Check Jefferson’s hours of operation and make your workout a part of your schedule. Even treat it like a class that you will be penalized for skipping. If your goal is to improve your grades, define the mark you’d like to receive and plan for it. Try setting aside extra time each night for studying or extra work.

5. Track your progress:
Recording each small step to success will help you see the improvement you’ve made. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and each little accomplishment will keep your mind motivated toward the bigger picture. Keeping track by writing in a small notebook is a great way to see this progression.

Stick with it and keep trying:
Nothing will happen overnight! Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit, and 6 months for it to become part of your personality. In no time you new healthy habits will fall into place and subconscious become apart of your daily routine.

If your resolution has run itself in the ground by now, do not fret. Just start all over again. There’s no reason why you can’t make a “New Year’s resolution” any time of year.

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