Across generations, this time of year is often one of reflection and resolution setting for the upcoming year. We ask: What made us happy over the past year? Could we have saved more money, lost a few more pounds or spent more time with family? Are we making progress towards long-term goals? More likely than not, the answers to these questions fall short of the previous year's intentions. In fact, according to research from the University of Scranton, only 8% of us keep our New Year's resolutions
While we might desire change, it's often much easier said than done. Luckily, there are a few easy tricks to increase the odds of seeing through New Year's resolutions — and, they work no matter your age. Her's three simple tricks to help you keep your New Year's resolutions:
1. Find an Accountability Partner
It's much easier to work towards a goal when you're part of a team. With an accountability partner, you have another person to help chronicle your successes towards your resolution. And, you're much less likely to allow yourself to let your partner down than to allow yourself to take shortcuts on your own. For Boomers looking to increase physical activity, consider asking your children to join you on a walk before work each morning. For those looking to eat healthier, ask your spouse to commit with you to carb-free dinners during the week. Having another person equally committed to your success will help you to achieve your goal.
2. Create a Specific Goal with a Timeline
Simply saying like you'd like to lose weight or pay off debts is not enough. How many pounds would you like to lose and by when? How much would you need to save each month to meet your financial goal? Being very specific with your goal helps you to track progress and set actionable, incremental next steps, increasing your likelihood of success. And, to go the extra mile, write down deadlines and step-by-step goals for yourself on a calendar and share it with your accountability partner.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
Along the way, it's likely that you'll occasionally fail in your pursuit towards resolutions — and that's okay. Don't let a couple setbacks discourage you too much, especially not so much that you give up. Every misstep is an opportunity to learn and improve for the future. Plus, New Year's resolutions do not serve us if they're not obtainable. That's why it's so important to be realistic with our goals. Forgiving yourself for failures and being realistic with goal-setting are ways to be kind to yourself with resolutions.
Whether your New Year's resolutions are to finally kick a bad habit or to start a healthy new one, these tips will help you keep on track with your goals.
Shelagh Daly Miller
VP, Group Publisher, AARP Media Advertising Network