Why it’s important to create realistic resolutions you can keep

Resolutions

Fifty per cent of us make New Year’s resolutions. So rest assured you’re not alone. And you’re certainly not alone when it comes to dropping your resolutions or not achieving them. Sure the first few weeks of January we’re all “Ra. Ra. Ra.” But then February rolls around and we start to slip. Whether your resolution is to lose weight, settle your debt or quit smoking, it’s likely not going to happen overnight.

The thing is, resolutions are essentially goals we set for ourselves. Goals that require us to change our behavior. Behaviour that has become habit year-over-year. These bad habits, as they were (bad, because if they were good we wouldn’t be changing them), aren’t easy to get rid of. And that’s why our failure rate, year-over-year, is so high.

The Next 21 Days

They say (the Internet) that it takes about 21 days of continuous repetition to change or to form a habit. But really, if you think about it, how long did it take for you to acquire this habit? Probably more than 21 days. In fact, probably more like years, even decades to get to where you are now. So why expect something is going to change in three weeks? A more realistic timeframe is 60 days. Let’s go with that and tell us how you’re doing by March 1.

Baby Steps

The other thing to consider is how realistic your resolution truly is. Are you expecting to quit smoking overnight? Maybe lose 50 lbs in 2 months? Possible? Perhaps. Likely (or healthy)? Not really. If it were, you probably would have done it already. Am I right? So instead, how about breaking down your resolution into something more realistic, more achievable. Go from five cigarettes a day to four or three. Get a piggy bank and put $10 in it every week (but don’t take it out!). And in February, put $15 or $20 every week. Keep saving your pennies.

Celebrate the Wins

Remember how we mentioned it’s “Eat Chocolate Cake Day” on January 27? Well, why not create a time for you to celebrate all your small victories. When you’ve managed to lose a few pounds and keep them off, do something to mark that achievement. Because after all, it’s an achievement. If you’ve broken down your resolution into smaller, more manageable goals, you’ll be constantly #winning, and looking forward to the next party. This works for practically any resolution you can think of, not just the big ones. Planning a trip to a far off place takes a lot of planning and saving your pennies (or nickels now that we don’t have pennies anymore). Spending more time with your parents or grandparents means less time with your friends or less time at work, so make it fun. Volunteering is an achievement in it of itself, so I’m not even gonna go there. If you don’t feel good after that, you’re an awful person (lols of course).

The bottom line is, paying off all your credit cards isn’t unrealistic, but expecting to do it after winning the lottery on January 8 is. Pay off small amounts at a time, and you’ll feel better about it, and you can celebrate that milestone.

Share with us your resolutions (or why you don’t have any) and what you’re doing to make them more achievable and realistic.

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