YMCA member enjoying an aquatics class
Along with singing “Auld Lang Syne” at the start of the New Year, making resolutions is a tradition for millions of Americans. However, while choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be challenging. A 2014 YMCA survey found that less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolutions. Many (71 percent) tried, but fell short of their goals, while 40 percent confessed they gave up within the first few months, even weeks, of the New Year!
This year, the YMCA of Western North Carolina is encouraging community members to give their New Year’s resolutions a boost by creating smaller, more manageable goals that can lead to success of a larger one. “ ‘Getting healthy’ is not a goal—it’s too broad,” explains Amy Davidson, a healthy living director at the YMCA of Western North Carolina. “You can reframe that broad resolution into multiple, more manageable and measurable goals. If you aren’t active at all right now, try to incorporate activity into your routine three days a week, before telling yourself that you’ll work out every single day.”
The YMCA of Western North Carolina also explains that reframing your goals in a positive way can help you stick to them. For example, you may want to limit your screen time in 2017, but that can be more manageable if you replace it with something positive like volunteering or setting special time aside for family. “Try not to think about what you’re missing, but rather what you’re gaining. This can make a resolution feel more positive, and therefore more achievable,” says Davidson.
It’s important not to let yourself get discouraged by setbacks. You may experience some missteps throughout the day—or even the week—but don’t give up. “Nobody got their bad habits over the course of a week, so you’re not going to change them in a week either,” explains Davidson. Change is a process and bad days are part of that process.
Here are four tips the YMCA of Western North Carolina recommends to help your New Year’s resolutions stick.
- Start small. Break big resolutions into small, achievable goals. Instead of cutting chocolate out of your diet for good, vow to only have it a few times a week. Or trade two sodas a day for one soda and a glass of water.
- Take it one step at a time. Trying to change too many habits at once can easily lead to frustration. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make a new month resolution. Focus on that one change for the month, and add another (small) change when the new month rolls around.
- Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors, like increasing physical activity, it’s important to find a facility that keeps you motivated. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity.
- Talk it out. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner or friend working toward similar goals. Team up with someone to set your 2017 goals and help each other establish a game plan dedicated to achieving them. Set specific check-ins to help each other out of slumps and to cheer each other during the high points.