If you’re like me (and the rest of America), making New Year’s resolutions—and keeping them—is tough, not to mention overwhelming. How many people do you know who do so successfully? Do you? After struggling with them for years myself, I decided to make monthly resolutions instead, which was way less pressure and much more manageable.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, a miniscule eight percent of people actually accomplish their New Year’s resolutions. Eight percent! They found that the most common ones include losing weight, getting organized, and spending less (surprise, surprise).
Here’s how you can increase the stats and keep the resolutions you set.
1. Make a chart with your goals
Start with a monthly calendar, then break down monthly goals into weekly and daily ones. Next, categorize them (I even recommend color-coding similar ones with different-colored pens or with a color printer). Set times for each item, like painting or going on the treadmill at 7-8 a.m. each day or every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then, display the calendar somewhere you can see it (like on your wall). (I recommend a hard copy vs. your phone, for it can get too easily hidden electronically.)
2. Make them realistic
Don’t have a goal to lose 50 pounds in a week or a month, but make realistic weekly weight-loss goals, like 1-5 pounds (or what have you).
3. Make them well-rounded.
Don’t just have health goals (like fitness and weight loss), but also have various categories, like: finances (how much do you want to save by year’s end?), love (perhaps you’re not a big dater but want to go on at least one date a week this year?), family (plan to see a relative at least once a week?), friends (see them more offline versus on?), and so on.
4. Check in each week
Check your progress each week (perhaps on Sundays so you can determine how the week was and how you can improve the next week). Did you give up fast food, but then had Taco Bell yesterday at 2 a.m.? Some slipping up is fine, but keep track of when it happens and try not to let it occur too much.
5. Have a gym buddy (so to speak)
Like anything in life, we tend to excel when we have someone to hold us accountable. Since you may not have a life coach or financial planner, have a friend set weekly and monthly goals, too. Then, have a set day and time to check in with one another, either by emailing progress reports (via Google docs) to one another, check-in phone calls, or in-person consultations. I recommend the in-person example. It’s tough to look someone in the eye and say you slacked in x, y, and z areas this week, but will do better in the coming week. Also, give your gym buddy a copy of your week’s goals so they can easily follow along.