10 Tips For Keeping New Year's Resolutions

The Best Way To Stick With Your New Year's Resolution Is To Plan Ahead

You can't wait until the last minute and expect to succeed at making changes in your life.. Photo © Felipe Wiecheteck

Chances are, at some time in your life, you've made a New Year's Resolution -- and then broken it. This year, stop the cycle of resolving to make change, but then not following through. If your resolution is to take better care of yourself and get your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) under control, you'll have a much better year if you are able to keep your resolution all year long. Here are 10 tips to help get you started.

Be Realistic

One thing about achieving goals is that they need to be realistic. They can be ambitious, but remind yourself not to try for something that's just too far afield.. Image © PraxisPhotography / Moments / Getty Images

The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make your goal unattainable. For instance, resolving to never eat your favorite food again because it bothers your IBD could be a bad choice for a New Year's resolution. Strive for a goal that is attainable, such as avoiding that food more often than you do now.

Plan Ahead

Happy New Year
New Year's Eve isn't probably the best time to start planning for your year ahead. Start before, if you can.. Image © Jakob Helbig / Cultura / Getty Images

Don't make your resolution on New Year's Eve. If you wait until the last minute, your decisions will be based on your mindset on that particular day. Instead, your New Year's resolution should be planned well before December 31 arrives. If it's already to late for planning to start January 1st, pick another date -- February 1st, your birthday, the anniversary of your diagnosis -- whatever date is meaningful for you. 

Outline Your Plan

Sewing Pattern
You wouldn't start sewing a dress without using a pattern, so why would you base your life on an idea rattling around in your head?. Image © Andy Crawford, Steve Gorton / Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip that exercise class or have one more cigarette. This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your bad habit affects your IBD.

Make a "Pro" and "Con" List

Pro and Con List
Did you consider all the angles of your resolution? Maybe the time is right, and maybe it's not: give it a thought before diving in.. Image © desifoto / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

It may help to see a list of items on paper to keep your motivation strong. Develop this list over time, and ask others to contribute to it. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve. 

Talk About It

Bring your family and friends into the fold, and with them behind you, you can better achieve your goals.. Image © Credit: Sam Edwards / Stone / Getty Images

Don't keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better or improve your health. The best case scenario is to find yourself a buddy who shares your New Year's resolution and motivate each other. 

Reward Yourself

Girl With Reward Stickers
Small rewards along the way can help you to feel that you are achieving your goals.. Image © Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

This doesn't mean that you can eat an entire box of chocolates if your resolution is to diet. Instead, celebrate your success by treating yourself to something that you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution. If you've been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, perhaps your reward could be going to a movie with a friend. 

Track Your Progress

If you have some way of keeping track of your progress, that can be a big help to you on your journey.. Image © Glow Images, Inc / Glow / Getty Images

Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help keep you motivated. Instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, say, focus on losing that first 5. Keeping a food diary or a symptom journal may help you stay on track.

Don't Beat Yourself Up

Two Faces
Having a good attitude all the time when you're looking to improve your life isn't always possible. But doing your best to be less self-critical can help.. Image © RM Exclusive / Cultura / Liam Norris / Getty Images

Obsessing over the occasional slip up on the way to your goals won't help you achieve any progress. Do the best you can each day, and take each day one at a time. When you do backslide, don't dwell on it. Just get back on schedule again and keep moving forward with your plan.

Stick To It

Rock Wall
Sticking to your plan is going to be the hardest part of keeping your resolution.. Image © Credit: Robert Decelis Ltd / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit, and 6 months for it to become part of your personality. Your new healthful habits will become second-nature in no time.

Keep Trying

Not every shot is going to be a bullseye. What matters is that you keep trying.. Image © CGinspiration / E+ / Getty Images

If your resolution has totally run out of steam by mid-February, don't despair. Start over again! There's no reason you can't make a "New Year's resolution" any time of year.

In fact, sign up for our free newsletters for tips on how you can recommit to living a healthy lifestyle at the start of each and every week.

Fast Facts About New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Eve
It takes time, but you can achieve your goals this year if you keep working towards them.. Image © Uwe Krejc / The Image Bank / Getty Images

  • 63% of people say they are keeping their resolutions after two months
  • 67% of people make three or more resolutions
  • Top four resolutions:
    1. Increase exercise
    2. Be more conscientious about work or school
    3. Develop better eating habits
    4. Stop smoking, drinking, or using drugs (including caffeine)
  • People make more resolutions to start a new habit than to break an old one

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