PORTLAND, Ore. — It's the start of a new year and most of us are heading into 2023 with a resolution or two.
Maybe you want to quit smoking or take a break from drinking alcohol, travel more or boost your savings.
Be honest: Are any of your resolutions the same as last year? You're not alone. By the time December rolls around, most people haven't stuck to their New Year's resolutions. According to one study, only 77% of people held to their New Year's resolution for one full week and less than 20% kept the habit after two years. Other studies put those numbers even lower.
But that doesn't have to be you! So what's the secret to an attainable resolution? Here are some tips to make 2023 your year.
Be specific and realistic
Abstract goals are hard to visualize and hard to achieve. Your resolutions should be concrete and attainable, says the Cleveland Clinic.
For example, instead of of a general goal of "getting in shape," your resolution should be more specific, like taking a 30-minute walk every day or a distance you want to be able to run without stopping. Instead of "saving more money," shoot for a specific dollar amount set aside for your dream vacation.
It's also important to be realistic with yourself. Make sure your resolution is attainable. If you're starting a running routine for the very first time, a marathon might not be a realistic first goal, but a 5K could be.
Set yourself up for success by keeping your lofty goals in mind, but breaking them down into smaller steps, says Harvard Health. The reinforcement of achieving those smaller goals can encourage you to keep going.
Have a plan
If you can dream it, you can do it... but you do actually have to do it. Make a plan for how you will keep your resolution or achieve your goal.
Document your successes and failures. Consider keeping a journal or even using an app related to your resolution -- there are an endless supply of apps for things like exercise, food tracking or budgeting.
Account for hurdles. More likely than not, most will slip up at some point. Take note of what causes you to fall short and use those lessons to stay on track going forward.
Sticking to a resolution might be more of a marathon than a sprint, but you don't need to wait until you finish the marathon to give yourself a medal.
Our brains are wired to respond to positive reinforcement, so rewarding yourself can help build those new habits. That might look different for different people, like a long, hot shower after a run, a quiet meditation session or a piece of candy. Eventually, the good habit itself will trigger that positive feeling.
Support is essential. Embrace the buddy system and find someone also shooting for a similar goal, enlist family and friends to help you achieve your own, or find an online community or support group.
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