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Ask Health Coach Maria: How Do I Keep My New Year’s Resolutions?

January 3, 2014

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Hi, I’m Maria Marlowe, a Certified Health Coach and author of Detox without the DeprivationI love to explain why you are what you eat and have made it my mission to help the world get healthy through better nutrition. In the“Ask Health Coach Maria” series, I answer frequently asked questions that relate to health and wellness.

Throughout the course of the year, we make and set many goals. For some reason, our New Year’s resolutions take top billing. It’s our chance to start fresh on January 1 with a clean slate.

While the media reports bleak statistics for how many people actually follow through with their resolutions – one study shows that just 8% of people succeed – New Year's resolutions are really no different from other goals. There is no reason that 100% of people can’t stick to their resolutions.

 Here are 5 ways to follow through on your New Year's resolutions:

1. Make goals quantifiable and set reasonable deadlines

Losing weight is great, but losing 20 pounds is better. When you get really clear on what you want, and take an abstract idea – losing weight – and make it quantifiable – 20 pounds – well then, you have a good resolution.

You make it even better when you set a reasonable deadline. (In case you’re wondering, a sustainable weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week.)

This lays a firm foundation for a good year, and sets you up for achievement. When you know exactly what you want, and how to measure your success, then it’s just a matter of figuring out the steps you need to take in order to get you there.

2. Make your intentions known

There is a reason that Facebook is worth $120 billion. We like to tell people what we are doing, or at the very least, we like to know what other people are doing.

As it turns out, publicly declaring our intentions makes us more likely to stick to them. Why? Social accountability. You don’t want to tell the world you are writing a book, and then have nothing to show for it, right?

Set your goal, then post it on Facebook, start a blog about it, or hey, just shout it from the rooftops. When other people know, they can not only cheer you on, but remind you of your intentions with the occasional, “How’s the novel coming?”

3. Seek support

Don’t go at it alone. Find a specific person or group to keep you accountable. Finding a partner (or partners) to check in with weekly can make a world of difference in keeping you on track – more so than just posting on social media.

You’ll be able to voice your frustrations and ask for help when you need it, and have someone to celebrate your successes with. They can provide new ideas, insights, and techniques for reaching your goals.

Ask a friend, hire a coach, or join a group. And sometimes, one accountability partner isn’t enough! As a Coach, I am the accountability partner for my clients, but based on their feedback, I started offering more group programs, both in-person and online, so that they can connect with each other, too.

There is power in small groups, and they just add to the motivation. Sometime just knowing that you’re not alone and that you have partners in the journey is enough to fuel your fire.  

4. Keep goals visible

Whatever you do, don’t keep your goals in your head. Write them down (deadlines and all) and post them somewhere where you’ll see them daily: on your desk, on the fridge, or even the bathroom mirror.

Make it so that you can’t not be reminded of them. If there is a specific action you’re supposed to take daily, set an alarm on your phone.

5. Power through 30 days

Research shows that if you can make it past the 30-day mark with your resolution, you’re three times as likely to keep it up the rest of the year. That’s likely because a month gives you sufficient time to form a new habit, which takes about 21 days.

If you can do this, then your new goal will become as effortless as brushing your teeth.

If you’ve had trouble with resolutions in the past, let 2014 be the year you keep your resolutions. Set your goals and use the 5 steps above to follow through until you achieve them.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Maria publishes a weekly blog and newsletter filled with healthy plant-based recipes and nutrition tips. Connect with Maria on her websiteFacebook, and Instagram.