If you have a tradition of making New Year's resolutions, only to abandon
them by June, you're not alone. According to a 2002 study published in the
Journal of Clinical Psychology, of the 40-45 percent of American adults who make at least one resolution
in January, only 54 percent are still on track the following July. There
are many reasons people struggle to stay motivated, including:
- Shorter days and longer nights
- Undefined game plan
- Unrealistic goals
- Being self-critical
- Lack of support
If you've lost momentum, don't wait until next year to get back
on track. Whether you want to exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking,
cut down on drinking, spend more time with your family, work fewer hours,
take up a new hobby or tackle a home improvement project, this six-step
process can help you reach your goals:
Step 1: Aim Lower
You may have simply set the bar too high. Instead of a sweeping declaration
like "I will lose 30 pounds by April," shift your focus away
from weight loss by creating more reasonable goals for yourself, like
packing your own lunches or taking a 30-minute walk before dinner.
Step 2: Don't Overload Yourself
Trying to change everything at once practically guarantees failure. Rather
than saddle yourself with three or four ambitious resolutions, choose
the one that is most important to you right now, like scheduling a physical
or resolving to get at least seven hours of sleep.
Step 3: Use What Works
Tap into expert advice from friends, colleagues and consultants who have
overcome obstacles similar to yours. Try adopting, and adapting, specific
recommendations that have proven successful for others.
Step 4: Set a Date
Sometimes the most effective way to accomplish a New Year's resolution
is to define your own start date. The second Sunday in March, when you
set your clocks one hour forward to daylight saving time, is a good time
to launch a lifestyle change.
Step 5: Share Your Goals
There's no shame in using peer pressure to help you maintain momentum.
The more people you talk with about your personal goals, the more accountable
you are to yourself and others, and the more likely you are to stay on course.
Step 6: Think Big Picture
Change isn't easy, so a little perspective goes a long way. If you
want to save more and spend less, staying focused on your long-term goals
can help you walk away from impulse purchases.
Walking the Talk
St. Luke's is committed to "walking the talk" by helping
employees stay on track with their own healthy resolutions. Go! is an
organization-wide initiative that encourages staff members to choose healthier
food options at work and integrate exercise into their daily routine by
walking 10,000 steps a day and taking the stairs. In conjunction with
American Heart Month, St. Luke's has also launched Step to a Healthy Heart, which challenges
employees to walk and/or lose weight. To date, 600 employees on 35 teams
are literally walking the talk by making heart-healthy lifestyle changes.