Turning Resolutions into Rituals

If you’ve ever set a lofty resolution as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, it probably comes as no surprise that 70% of resolutions are abandoned within one month. Go ahead and blame it on the post-holiday blues, but if you ask us, the real reason people fail their resolutions is that they set goals that are far too big. Our advice? Start small with something you can make a little progress on every day, like drinking more water or thinking more positively. Here are a few tips to help you stick to that habit.

Get Specific
In a study performed by the British Journal of Health Psychology, people who got specific with where and when they were going to exercise experienced a 91% success rate versus 38% in groups who failed to get specific. To stick to your habits, write down intentions like, “Drink at least 16 oz of water at my desk before 10am.” It might feel silly at first, but it could mean the difference between building a ritual and falling off the resolution wagon.

Log Your Progress
Building a new ritual is about progress, not perfection. Logging your progress increases your feeling of reward. That reward feeling makes it easier to stick to it when the going gets tough. Even better than just keeping track of how far you’ve come? Sharing your progress with friends or on social media. A 2013 research study showed that people who publicly posted their weight loss progress on Twitter ended up losing more weight than those who stayed quiet. That’s #goals.

Make it Easy
Paralyzed by indecision? You’re not alone. That “how do I do this?” feeling is a total resolution-killer. A study published by the American Psychological Association showed that reducing the decisions you need to make to complete a goal helps increase your willpower. This means that you should build your resolution into your routine. So, instead of wondering how you’re going to get your sweat in every Wednesday, sign up for a recurring class or book a standing gym date with a pal. When the decision is already made, you’re more likely to stick to it.

Get an Accountability Partner
You know that little voice in your head that says, “no one will know if you skip your workout?” Kill it dead by recruiting a friend to help you with accountability. Experts agree that adding a little social incentive to goal-building makes you more likely to succeed. When you have a pal doing it with you, you’re less likely to push your goals to tomorrow.

As you forge ahead towards your new habit, remember that nobody is perfect. A few steps forward is better than zero progress. Sticking to a ritual is as much about not giving up as it is about the actual task. You got this!

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