A blog by runners. For runners.

You can do it! Don’t quit on your New Year’s resolutions, goals

Don't quit on your goals

“New year, new you!” Or so they say…

While we all start off with the best of intentions, nearly 1 in 4 of us will abandon our New Year’s resolution by January 7, says the Washington Post. Yes, you read that right – January 7, i.e., TODAY. It’s one week into the year.

Now, most of us go into resolutions knowing they won’t be easy. But to give up after one week? Come on, you can do better than that!

A resolution often involves forming a new habit. It’s difficult to create new habits, which is why New Year’s resolutions can fail. But one thing to keep in mind when changing our behaviors is it’s OK to have setbacks. So, even if you slipped up in the first week of 2016 and went back to your old ways, that’s OK. It’s even expected. But that doesn’t make the whole year a wash.

Try these tricks to make your resolution stick:

  • Acknowledge your slip-up and move on. If you’ve already lit up a cigarette, spent money on a frivolous purchase, or skipped your morning workout, don’t dwell on your mistake. Rather, acknowledge it and try to figure out why it happened so you can prevent it from occurring again. Were you hanging out with friends when they were smoking? Try to spend more time with non-smokers while you’re in this vulnerable phase. Did you visit your favorite store’s website? Unsubscribe from their emails. Did you hit snooze on your alarm? Pre-pay for a fitness class so you’ll be more likely to get out of bed.
  • Seek support. Tell everyone you know about your resolution plans – friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. They’ll likely check in with you and ask you how you resolution is going. This will keep your resolution on the forefront of you mind so you’ll be less likely to throw in the towel. Better yet, seek out others with the same resolution and work together to achieve your goals. Knowing you have people counting on you may help you stay motivated to make lasting changes.
  • Set up an incentive plan. Do you know what I find frustrating? Sticking with a marathon training plan for 8 weeks, but still having 8 weeks left and not knowing how the marathon will go. Instead of thinking about the uncertainty of the future, I always reward myself with some new running gear at the halfway point of a training plan. Training for 8 weeks is a big deal! Likewise, you should celebrate small milestones along the way as you work towards making your resolution. When a goal is far off, it can be easy to lose sight of it. Setting up a rewards system may be just the incentive you need to keep going.

Now for some good news. Even though 1 in 4 people drop their resolution by the one-week mark, half are still going strong at three months in. And 9 in 10 of those people are still keeping up their new behaviors by the end of June. That’s the six-month mark. Experts say if you’ve been doing something for six months, it’s now a habit. Basically, that’s our long-winded way of saying that half of people who make a resolution will make the change for good. We hope all of you fall in that half. Best of luck!

Written by Jen Matz.