As the year winds down, one thing’s for sure: People will be making New Year’s resolutions—and lots of them.
This year, about forty-four percent of Americans will make a New Year’s resolution to get fit, stop smoking, learn French, stress less and onward and so on.
Anyone who has witnessed a crowded January gym slow to a trickle by February knows that many resolutions just don’t stick. In fact, research shows that a mere eight percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions.
So how can you be among the few who see their promise through?
I’m not claiming to have all the answers, but I’ve found a few things that work. Here are my top tips for making the right resolutions—and sticking to them.
- Make a mini resolution. Who says you have to run a marathon or model your home after Martha Stewart’s? There’s nothing wrong with making less ambitious, but more achievable, goals like running a 5K or organizing your most out-of-control closet.
- Be specific. Lots of people fail because they make resolutions that are too general or too difficult to measure. Examples include “get healthy” or “spend more time with my spouse.” Instead, vow to “Walk an extra 20 minutes every day” or “Schedule a weekly date night with my spouse.”
- Plan, plan, plan. Maybe you have a big goal like “start a business.” If so, you’ll have more success if you plot out the many steps it takes to make it a reality. There are quite a few online goal tracking websites out there to help you; just two include Achievr and WeekPlan. (And if you do plan to start a business, don’t forget to talk with an ERIE Agent about how insurance can protect your investment of both time and money.)
- Take it public. Though some people believe otherwise, I find that I’m much more likely to keep my New Year’s resolutions when I tell others about them. I don’t know if it’s because of the extra motivation others give me or because I’m too embarrassed to quit or fail after going public, but it works.
- Find a buddy. A friend who shares your New Year’s resolutions can provide a massive dose of motivation. If no one in your inner circle shares your New Year’s resolution, check out MySomeday. This app lets you create a plan to achieve your goal and invites others in the online community to post ideas to help you along the way.
If all else fails…
Still think it will be tough to keep your New Year’s resolution? Then you might consider some unconventional approaches to achieve success.
- Consider a disincentive. On Stickk.com, you can have your credit card charged each time you fall short of your goal. You can direct the money to go anywhere—but you might consider sending it to an organization you detest. (Two ideas include a political party you’d never support or a university that’s the arch rival of the one you attended.)
- Make a resolution to enjoy and protect what you already have. Perhaps you recently bought something big like a home, a car or a boat. If so, take the time to enjoy what you already have before thinking ahead to the next thing you need or want. This is also a good time to think about how to protect some of your favorite things. For example, you might ask:
- Could I rebuild the home I love if disaster struck?
- Could I afford to replace my belongings if they were stolen?
- Could my family live in comfort if me and my paycheck weren’t in the picture?
For these questions and more, contact a local ERIE Agent in your community. He or she can review the risks you face and create a plan to protect the people and things you care about most. (Plus, talking to an Agent is an easy resolution to mark off the list.)
With planning, effort and perhaps some incentives, you really can see your resolution through.