Ham, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, oh my! During the holidays, we tend to consume as much as our stomachs will allow. Come New Year’s Day, we are ready to resolve to eat healthier, implement a regular exercise regimen or make our lives better in another way.
New Year’s resolutions bring a sense of hope, a new beginning, a clean slate. Thousands of individuals pledge a New Year’s resolution every year, yet many fail to commit.
So, how do you make a New Year’s resolution that you can stick with?
Let’s start at the beginning. Where did the idea of a New Year’s resolution come from?
How Did New Year’s Resolutions Start?
January 1 wasn’t always a day of promises. New Year resolutions began over 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and took place in mid-March. The idea was to pay debts and return any goods you had borrowed for the year. This marked the beginning of New Year’s resolutions.
It was believed if you followed through on your promises, a favor would be restored to you. But if not, you would not have such luck in the future.
The Romans eventually established January 1 as the beginning of each new year, and the idea of New Year’s resolutions followed along. Throughout time, New Year’s resolutions developed as a way to reflect on past mistakes and set goals on how to improve one’s life for better in the coming year.
How Many People Make New Year’s Resolutions?
A lot! In fact, statistics show 41% of people make New Year’s resolutions each year. However, only 9.2% of individuals successfully make the promised change.
Can you guess the Top 10 resolutions in 2017? Check out the list from Statistic Brain Research Institute:
- Lose Weight/Healthier Eating
- Life/Self Improvements
- Better Financial Decisions
- Quit Smoking
- Do More Exciting Things
- Spend More Time with Family/Close Friends
- Work Out More Often
- Learn Something New On My Own
- Do More Good Deeds for Others
- Find the Love of My Life
Are any of these resolutions a good fit for you in 2018? Check out these tips on how to set a resolution you can commit to.
How to Set a New Year’s Resolution
Before the clock strikes midnight on 1/1/2018, take time to think through a resolution that is achievable for you and will enhance your life. Start with these tips on how to keep a New Year’s resolution:
- Pick one -- only one -- goal to focus on
- Plan ahead
- Anticipate problems
- Pick a detailed start date
- Go for it
- Accept failure
- Plan rewards
Choose one attainable and specific goal when creating your resolution. If you fall off the path, step back up to the plate and keep swinging toward your goal. We all fall short of our goals at some point, but it is important to keep going and actively keep striving for the goal you set.
New Year’s resolutions are a great time to look ahead at what will make you happy and successful in the future. For example, you could make your New Year’s resolution around planning for your retirement, future senior living or care arrangements. Set dates for research, tours, conversations and when you want to have a plan outlined.
Make 2018 the time to get a plan in place that will positively impact the rest of your life!
If you are unsure about what the right New Year’s resolution is for you, try starting with a category such as wellness, travel or family. Next, choose a topic inside the category.
For example, if you choose the category happiness, you may choose the topic of making more friends. Then, your New Year’s resolution could be, ‘This year I want to increase my happiness by going to two new activities every month that allows me to socialize and meet more people.”
When making your resolution, remember to be specific, plan and reward yourself. Next, you need to focus on how to keep your resolution on track.
3 Steps to Keep Your Resolution on Track
1. Schedule It
Just as you would with any important appointment in your life, schedule time to focus on your New Year’s resolution.
For example, if your resolution is to travel more, plan out in advance what trips you will take and when you will go. Don’t allow yourself to keep pushing it off. Besides, traveling is good for you! Schedule your first trip as part of your New Year’s resolution.
When setting your resolution, keep it realistic. It may not be possible to fly to Europe this year, but instead, you could plan six local adventures for you and a friend, family member or grandchild. Check out this local guide on the Hidden Gems of Cincinnati to get some ideas today.
2. Share Your Resolution
Make your resolution time specific, measurable and share your goals with family and friends. By sharing your resolution with others, you allow yourself to have an accountability partner. Your accountability partner should be someone who will check in with you occasionally to see how you’re doing with your resolution.
Do you have a passion for helping others? Make a resolution to volunteer and ask a friend (aka accountability partner) to join you. Helping others tends to have a positive impact on not only the individual who you may be helping but also your life. You and your friend together could commit to a specific volunteer effort that interests you both.
Or, if you’re interested in focusing on your health this year, invite a friend to join a fitness class with you. You can help each other stay accountable. Plus, it’s often more fun to join together! Join one of our wellness classes specifically for those 55+ at The Connection at Twin Towers.
3. Be Patient & Measure Progress
Take the time to measure your progress. As they say, stop and enjoy the small things.
For example, after attending wellness class for a few weeks, keep a small journal of the improvements you made. Whether it’s 30 more steps you can track or a specific yoga pose you achieved, mark it in your journal. Seeing results helps you stay motivated.
Having patience when completing a New Year’s resolution is a big part of keeping one. For 365 days, you are working toward one goal. Don’t forget to be patient.
Be Ready for 2018!
Now that you have some tips and examples on how to keep a New Year’s resolution, set yours and achieve it! Make your 2018 New Year’s resolution about improving a part of your life. Only you can set the best resolution for you.
Twin Towers is a continuing care retirement community focused on delivering exceptional, everyday experiences to seniors. For more information on the Twin Towers community, contact us online or give us a call! 513-853-2000.