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4 Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Advice for sticking with your New Year's resolutions.

Credit: Peachtree Corners Patch
Credit: Peachtree Corners Patch
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My husband’s New Year’s resolution last year was “to try yoga at least once.” Although I mocked him relentlessly for such a modest goal, he is the only person I can think of who actually followed through on his resolution. (By the way, he went to a yoga class exactly one time in 2013, and in November at that.)

My own resolution was to get back into running regularly. I’m afraid I went jogging only a handful of times more than my husband did yoga – nowhere near the four times a week I’d promised myself.

According to a University of Scranton poll taken last year, only 8 percent of Americans who made New Year’s resolutions were able to keep them. At least I’m not alone.

I am rehashing the same resolution for 2014, so I’ve done some research to see what I can do for better results. Here’s what I’ve got planned:

1) Be Realistic: According to John Norcross, professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, many of us “confuse fantasy with reality. Resolutions are supposed to be specific and realistic and measurable.” With a full-time job and two kids, I can barely manage to shower four times a week, so perhaps aiming to run that many times wasn’t reasonable. This year, for starters, I’m toning it down to – at least – two runs a week. I can do that!

2) Break it Down: It’s all about the schedule for me this year. I pledge to run twice a week during the month of January. If it’s too hard, I can revise my goal for February. However, if I stay on target, I just might crank things up to three times a week. And that would lead to more…

3) Reward Yourself: It’s almost embarrassing to admit how much the promise of a new handbag or mini-shopping spree can motivate me. Every month I plan to select some sort of carrot to get me out the door. For January, it’s these Warby Parker sunglass. I’ll have to select less expensive prizes for later months or I’ll go broke by July, but I’ll jump off that bridge when I get to it.

4) Lock it In: My chances of staying on course will improve I’m accountable to someone. Or something, as the case may be. The website StickK allows goal-seekers to set up a “commitment contract,” obliging them either stick to a goal – or pay up. The amount and recipient of the payment are determined at signup. It can be a friend, family member, charity, or even anti-charity (that’s for real motivation). And, it’s legally binding. How’s that for serious?

Have you made a New Year’s resolution? If so, do you think you can keep it? Tell us in the comments or in a blog post.


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