Fool Proof Your New Year's Resolutions!

Don't be a part of the 62% who failed at last year's resolutions! Here's how experts advise you fail-proof yours...

Posted on Monday, 06/01/2014
By:Rocksario Garcia

Whether you rang in the New Year chowing down on the infamous 12 grapes (you’re supposed to make one wish per grape when the clock strikes twelve), or packing your luggage (supposed to bring you lots of travel in the upcoming year), we all have our little traditions that make us look at the upcoming year with a little bit of hope.

If you're like me the grapes thing doesn't really work to make goals because you don't plan them ahead of time and when the clock strikes 12 you're left with "hmm..oh shoot I only have 1 minute to make 12 wishes! Arrrghh!”  So yeah aside for wishing for no more bad-hair days, I wished for world peace for the last 11 wishes while trying not to choke on grapes, you’re welcome.

If you missed your chance to wish for a perfect body, or perfect hair (like me) this year, do not fret.  It's never a bad day to start making new lifestyle changes that will improve your overall well-being! (Listen to Morpheus above!)  I thought I would post this blog on what is supposed to be the “most depressing day of the year” marking the official end to the holiday season, so that you will stay motivated and cheer up.  Just doing my part!

With that said, there is a formula for making fool-proof New Year's goals that won't leave you depressed or set you up for failure for the rest of the year. According to Noom Wellness Intelligence Report: 62% of people failed at last year's resolutions, But 90% still planned to make a resolution in 2014. You gotta give it to us, we have heart.

There are tons of sites trying to get you interested in joining the gym, start investing, start a new hobby etc (this according to the 300 emails I have received since January 1st). With so much misinformation, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and go right back to the old you. This is why I took it upon myself to do all the research for you and give you some fool-proof tips on how to keep to your goals this year.

The top new year’s resolutions for 2014 worldwide were:

1) To Save Money
Save Money

2) To Get Healthier
Get Healthier

Or....

3) Get Organized

Did you make these resolutions?  As far as resolutions go, they’re not bad, but they are missing a few key things.

1) They’re not measurable. 

Unless you set up realistic goals on how you plan to reach that wish, you might as well be wishing for 1 million dollars.

One example of how to make the above goals measurable is to make them more specific.

  • I will save $20 each paycheck.
  • I will eat two servings of fruits and veggies and exercise 30 minutes a day.
  • I will start a to-do list, spend 30 minutes a day organizing my tasks etc etc.

You get the idea.  One good tip I learned a long time ago was to literally print out a calendar and mark off tasks to reach your goals as you do them for at least 28 days.  The idea is that it takes about 28 days to learn or break a habit.

If your goal is to get healthier for example, list your daily tasks (i.e. drink 8 glasses of water, exercise for 30 minutes, eat two servings of fruits and veggies a day) and cross them out as you do them each day.  This will make your goals measurable (as you start seeing “X’s” on the days you did things, you will feel like you earned a gold star on your spelling test from 3rd grade).  That’s an A+!

2) They are lonely tasks. 

Let’s face it, Latino’s are a communal people.  We are more apt to do something if it’s a group thing.  Who wants to be the only one eating fruits and veggies when everyone else is digging into the yummy fried empanadas, greasy tacos y tamales, or yummy pupusas.  I’ll tell you who… no one.  This is why you need a support group to help you with your goals.

Enlist the help of friends and family, include them in your plans, and join online communities with like-minded people who need your support in reaching their goals too.  According to the Noom Wellness Intelligence Report, of those surveyed, only 47% got help on past resolutions from outside resources including mobile apps, classes, experts or support groups while over 75% said they will look to those resources to accomplish 2014's resolutions. 66% said they plan to use a mobile app to reach their goals.  So there you go, you have an arsenal of people willing to help you reach your goals, all you have to do is ask and seek!
 
3) Don’t call them resolutions, call them goals.

I think we would all be better served with abandoning the idea of “resolutions” to begin with and simply call them goals.  With resolutions the odds are stacked against you, of the people who made New Year's resolutions last year, 27% said they had given up on their resolution by January and 54% by March. Only 21% of those surveyed stuck to their resolutions for the entire year in 2013. I’m not very good with percentages but that’s not a lot.

A few years ago, psychologists studied this phenomenon and came up with the term, “false hope syndrome”: Professor Peter Herman found that people with false hope syndrome set up a resolution that was “significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with their internal view of themselves.”  When we fail to meet these unrealistic expectations, they are damaging to our self-esteem and create a cause and effect situation.  “You may think that if you lose weight, or reduce your debts, or exercise more, your entire life will change, and when it doesn't, you may get discouraged and then you revert back to old behaviors.”  Yeah.. that’s a doozy.

Here’s how they recommend you make your resolutions/goals work year-round:

  1. Focus on one resolution, rather than several;
  2. Set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal. Losing 10 pounds in 90 days would be;
  3. Don't wait till New Year's eve to make resolutions. Make it a year long process, every day;
  4. Take small steps. Many people quit because the goal is too big requiring too big a step all at once;
  5. Have an accountability buddy, someone close to you that you have to report to;
  6. Celebrate your success between milestones. Don't wait for the goal to be finally completed;
  7. Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits;
  8. Focus on the present. What's the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?
  9. Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future.

If you’re like me, you will take this advice as a challenge.  Let’s be a part of the elite 21% and join forces to keep our goals in 2014.  Feel free to share your goals below and make suggestions of sites, apps, classes that can help us stick to them.

Happy 2014!

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