By Cynthia Hovis, MSW, LCSW
Did you make a resolution for 2017? How are you doing with it now that spring has arrived? Are you off to a good start? Are you keeping up with it? Does your goal need a review?
Popular resolutions tend to involve weight loss, saving money, and improving relationships. If you aren't keeping yours the way you had hoped, you're not alone. The University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology found that 4 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent report keeping them. About half (49 percent) have moderate success and 24 percent report not maintaining their resolution at all each year.
If you're in the bottom 24 percent so far, it's not too late to recommit. And even if you didn’t make a resolution on January 1, it is never too late to take steps toward becoming a healthier, happier you.
You'll stand a better chance at achieving your goals if you re-evaluate your resolution benchmarks. Behavior changes take time and practice. It’s a fluid process and should be thought of as a journey rather than a one-time event. It can help to focus on the positive changes you would like to add to your life to help you reach a healthy life balance, instead of things not to do. Some other tips:
- Give serious thought to your goal in the selection process.
- Choose just one SMART goal to focus on (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based).
- Make it realistic to you and something that you are intrinsically motivated to want.
- Think about how to measure it in a way that makes it an uplifting feature in your life rather than a way of torturing yourself, which can lead to frustration and discouragement.
- Break down your goal into small steps and celebrate milestones along the way.
- Be accountable by letting others know of your goals and encouraging them to celebrate with you.
- Allow yourself to be human and have setbacks, relapses and mistakes.
You don’t cancel your vacation for a flat tire; you simply address it and keep on going. Why abandon efforts for healthy life changes at the first sign of difficulty? Life is not an “all-or-nothing exercise” -- it is an ever-changing process.