It’s New Year’s Eve, and for a lot of us that means making New Year’s resolutions. Here’s a simple formula to help you keep your resolutions this year!
Less than half of the people who make New Year’s resolutions actually stick to them, and that’s because the most popular resolutions tend to be pretty vague. Resolutions like “lose weight” or “eat healthy” don’t actually mean very much come January first. Or July 5th. Or the end of the year. Those nebulous resolutions just make us feel bad, and the less specific they are, the more likely we are to throw in the towel.
Back when I worked for a giant media conglomerate, I took tons of management classes. My department encouraged them, and I have to tell you that most of them were sort of bullshit. There was one class, though, on setting goals that taught me a lot, and I think the major take-away from that class applies perfectly to New Year’s resolutions.
Good New Year’s resolutions should be FAST: flexible, attainable, specific, and timed.
So, how do you apply FAST to a new year’s resolution? Let’s break down a really popular one: eat healthy.
Be honest here: you’re not going to give up cookies permanently, and you’re not going to eat salads and steamed veggies all the time. Don’t beat yourself up or give up when you slip up. Allow yourself a little flexibility within your New Year’s resolutions, so a small setback doesn’t make you want to quit completely.
Break your goal down into digestible steps. Is it realistic to give up cookies (look, I really like cookies, OK?), eat healthy meals three times a day, and stick to healthy snacks. Set mini goals throughout the year. Maybe you start by replacing your greasy breakfasts with a daily green smoothie for a few weeks, then try adding more veggies to lunch or eating meatless suppers. Decide what healthy eating means and break it down, so you can take this one step at a time. You’ve got a whole year, after all!
Instead of “eat healthy,” decide what that actually looks like. Does it mean eating an extra serving of vegetables at each meal? Replacing two desserts a week with fresh fruit or that fourth cup of coffee with a cup of tea? Make a list for success!
A year is a long time, and you leave yourself open to procrastination. Instead of deciding to “eat healthy,” give yourself a deadline for each attainable step in your plan. Want to get down to one or two cookies a week? When would you like to get there? Setting time limits helps you see where you are with your New Year’s resolutions so you can stick to them.
Do you have a New Year’s resolution that you could apply the FAST method to? Do you think breaking it down this way might help you stick to your goals for 2014? Tell me what you think in the comments!