The start of summer means we’re halfway through the year. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like most Americans who make New Year’s resolutions each year, you may have started off the year strong, but then allowed your health and fitness goals to fall by the wayside as the months passed.
If you’ve fallen off track, you’re not alone. Most people who make New Year’s resolutions don’t make it through February before giving up. In fact, only eight percent of those who make a New Year’s resolution succeed in their goals. But just because you've gone off the rails doesn’t mean you can’t get back on course for the second half of the year.
Here are 10 tips to help you get back on track with your New Year’s Resolution.
Consider why you made your resolution in the first place. Whether for health, weight loss or improved mental and emotional wellbeing, take some time to remember the reasons you set your New Year’s resolution. Let this time of reflection serve as motivation to help you get back on track.
Set benchmark goals or milestones. Break your one big goal into smaller, actionable tasks you can complete along the way. Cutting a large goal into smaller goals is less intimidating and allows you to better monitor your progress.
Be specific. Put a number on it. Rather than saying “I’m going to lose weight,” specify just how much weight you want to lose each month. For example, “I’m going to lose five pounds each month.” Better yet, if slimming down is your goal, focus on losing inches, rather than pounds.
Find support and eliminate negative relationships. Seek out friends and family who can encourage you to keep up the hard work. Compete with a friend to see who can reach his or her goal first. Reduce or eliminate your exposure to negative influences, including those in your social circle who may be more encouraging of your failures than success.
Get into a routine and visualize results. It takes about two months to make a new habit. That means committing to eight weeks of working daily toward reaching your goal. Develop a plan to help you stay on track and visualize the results you want to achieve. How will you feel when you accomplish your resolution? Is there some prize or reward you have in mind for when you reach your goal?
Track your progress. By monitoring your progress over time, you can make necessary adjustments to your plan when one approach isn’t working. If your goal is to lose weight, set a weekly check-in time to step on the scale or get out the measuring tape to measure your progress.
Embrace failure. Failure doesn’t mean you’re done; it’s simply part of the process on your way to success. Learn to embrace failure. When you fall off track, take a moment to consider your mistakes, make necessary adjustments and get moving again. Don’t judge yourself for making mistakes. Instead, take them as an opportunity to learn and refine yourself as you work toward your goal.
Ask for help. Find a friend with a similar goal and help each other out along the way. If your goal is to get fit, find a buddy who will work out with you. Seek help from a trainer who can help you set a plan with simple, actionable steps to help you achieve your goal.
Focus on progress, not perfection. You won’t reach your goals overnight. Making a New Year’s resolution is about progress, not perfection. Remember, nobody is perfect. Don’t hold yourself to an unattainable standard.
Celebrate small victories. Set up a reward system for yourself. But remember, there is a difference between a reward and a “cheat day.” Rather than giving yourself a day to indulge in what you’ve been working to avoid, find other ways to reward yourself. Treat yourself to some pampering, such as a massage or a pedicure. Spend the afternoon binge-watching your favorite show. Go on a mini-vacation. Whatever it may be, setting up a system of rewards can help keep you motivated along the way.
Take some time this summer to refocus, reset and renew your motivation to get back on track toward reaching your New Year’s resolution.