Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions in 2018: Five Strategies to Make This Year Different

It’s that time of year again when it’s time to start thinking about all of those resolutions that likely won’t stick. According to a story by U.S. News & World Report in 2015, about 80 percent of people give up these goals by February. Sanam Hafeez, a New York-based neuropsychologist, believes that sticking to your resolution is possible with the right mindset.

Focus on attainable goals, like working out a few times a week instead of daily.

Here are some ways to make realistic goals this year:

Choose Something You Care About
Resolutions often fail because they aren’t the right ones for you, according to an article in The New York Times. When thinking about what you’d like to change for 2018, consider whether it’s something you personally care about or whether it’s a goal based on outside pressures.

Have a Focus
Vague goals can also fail. Be clear in what you want to achieve, rather than just saying you want to lose weight, advises Katherine L. Milkman, who specializes in operations information and decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Milkman told the Times, it’s better to pinpoint exactly how much weight you want to lose, like five pounds in two months, as an example.

Be Conservative
Goals that are way too ambitious are destined to fail. According to the American Psychological Association, it’s best to start small. So instead of trying to become vegan, aim to reduce your meat consumption for several meals a week. Or if you want to work out, try to go three times a week instead of daily.

Visualize Your Achievements
Hafeez believes visualizing your goals can actually help you obtain them and recommends starting a journal depicting how your life will improve. “Cut pictures out of magazines of what you want and post them to a wall (or if appropriate, the refrigerator),” she said in a release emailed to Newsweek. “Get very clear on what you think you will feel like once you see results,”

Make it Fun
“Our language and self-talk is everything and determines if our resolution will fade or will become something we’re still doing in June,” Hafeez said. She explained that when people resolve to change their diet or exercise, they may already start dreading it. “However, shifting the brain to doing something fun that is in line with the goal gets you more committed,” she said. Use your resolve to eat healthier as a way to experiment with new recipes, for example. Or, if you want to learn a new skill, like photography, find local meetup groups for creatives.

 

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This article was written by Melissa Matthews,  a science writer covering health for Newsweek and a health-conscious food enthusiast. 



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