New year, new you

New year, new you
Approaching New Year’s resolutions with a plan will increase the likelihood of success. (Photo:Shutterstock)

Kevin Barnett/Reporter

Tips on how to keep your New Year’s resolutions

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The month of January is where the rubber meets the road for all of the New Year’s declarations of change we tend to make once the holiday season has passed.

With the vast majority of resolutions abandoned by February, here are a few tips to increase your odds of success in 2019.

Be realistic.

John Norcross, a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton recommends being realistic when setting your goals.

He also suggests expecting some slips ups in the beginning as this will lessen the likelihood of giving up if a backslide into old behavior does occur.

“Early slips do not predict failure. In fact, many ultimately successful resolvers report, even as they experience them, that the early slips strengthen their resolutions,” Norcross said in an article for Time magazine.

Another area to exercise some practicality is with the amount of time you expect the change to take. Keep in mind; bad habits do not develop overnight, so expecting the change to be immediate is to set yourself up for disappointment.

Be specific.

As the famed salesman and motivational speaker Zig Zigler said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

Resolutions at their core are goals. And as with any goal, experts will tell you to get specific about the change you want, as well as how you plan to achieve them.

Rather than declaring a vague ambition like, “ I will lose weight this year.” Instead say, “I will drop one pant size by the end of January.” Or, “I will not eat anything after 7 p.m.” Remember, specificity is key.

In this instance, it is perfectly fine to get lost in the details.

Put pen to paper.

This one is simple. Write down your goals.

It has been empirically proven that writing down your goals will dramatically increase your odds of attaining them.

“Writing things down doesn’t just help you remember, it makes your mind more efficient by helping you focus on the truly important stuff,” Leadership IQ CEO Mark Murphy said in a 2018 Forbes article on goals.

Stay self aware and optimistic.

Nothing zaps motivation faster than negativity. So, stay positive and focus on your successes.

U.S. News contributor Dr. Joseph Luciani credits negativity and lack of introspection as major reasons people fail to make lasting changes.

“Pessimists are so used to being negative that they don’t realize it’s a habit. And they don’t realize it’s a choice,” he said.

Luciani also stresses taking time for self-reflection. This will help to identify any self-sabotaging tendencies you may have.

An unidentified problem is an unfixable problem.

One last thing, don’t be afraid to adjust your goals. If something is not working for you, change it.

Have a great 2019.

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