More than six in 10 of the people who made resolutions last year say they don't think they were successful, according to a new Noom Wellness Intelligence Report that surveyed more than 11,000 people. Still: A whopping 90 percent are going to set a resolution for 2014, per the survey. Want to make yourself promises you can actually keep? Here's how.
Ditch this resolution: "I'm going to lose 50 pounds." Shedding major weight is the resolution to top all resolutionsÃ¢â‚¬”but talk about overwhelming!
Make this resolution: "I'm going to lose five pounds each month."
Instead of setting such a massive goal for yourself, think in increments, says Robert Reames, CSCS, a Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Trainer and the official trainer/nutritionist for the Dr. Phil show. That's way more attainable and sustainable, he says.
Ditch this resolution: "My partner and I are going to have sex every day."
Again, you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself here...and not giving yourself any flexibility.
Make this resolution: "We're going to have sex at least once a week, and we're going to plan it in advance."
The key parts of a strong resolution? It has to be realistic, and you have to have a plan that'll help you make it happen, says sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First. For both of these reasons, this sex resolution is way more, well, do-able.
Ditch this resolution: "I'm going to stop shopping and spending on myself."
That doesn't get at your specific money issues or spending behavior.
Make this resolution: "I'm going to spend no more than $100 on myself each month, and I'm going to unsubscribe from my fave online shopping newsletters."
You'll be way better off if you figure out your kryptonite and then come up with personalized ground rules, says Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com and author of Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money.
Ditch this resolution: "I'm going to nab my dream job."
It's not always possible to get your ideal gig right this second, says Gen Y career expert Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.
Make this resolution: "I'm going to get a job that's on the right trajectory for what I want to ultimately do."
"Take a look at the skills you have and where the demand is in the job market," says Schawbel. "If you find a company that you want to work for that has a job that matches the skills you have now, you should apply for itÃ¢â‚¬”even if it's not your dream job." Strive to get your foot in the door at a company where you can grow, and you'll be positioning yourself for that amazing position a few years down the road.
Ditch this resolution: "I'm going to go to the gym every day."
Overreaching sets you up for disappointment and burnout, says Reames. And anyway, it's way better to get in a really solid workout three or four days a week than a just-fine one every day.
Make this resolution: "I'm going to keep my fitness fresh and exciting."
Try new machines and/or classes, keep your ears peeled for news about cool new exercise optionsÃ¢â‚¬”do whatever it takes to keep your workouts consistently fun. Because that's what'll ultimately get you working out more frequently.
Ditch this resolution: "I'm going to find a boyfriend."
That's nice and all, but resolutions should be action-oriented, says Kerner. So break that down into how you're actually going to meet the guy. For example:
Make this resolution: "Once a week I'm going to socialize with somebody new." One way to do this? By meeting your friends' friends, says Kerner. So, for example, ask if you can tag along to one friend's co-ed soccer game, and vow to say yes when your roommate asks if you want to go on a weekend ski trip even if you won't know anyone else there.
Ditch this resolution: "I'm going to eat healthier."
It's well-intentioned, sure, but it's also way too vague to accomplish easily. If you hone in on one aspect of your unhealthy eating and use that for your resolution instead, you'll be much more successful.
Make this resolution: "I'm going to make my own dinner three or four days a week."
Focus on preparing fresh, healthy, whole foods during those days, says Reames, and you'll likely cut down on your sodium and saturated fat intake without really thinking about it. As an added bonus, you might just develop a fun new hobby while you're at it.
Ditch this resolution: "I'm going to be a better person and help others."
Make a commitment to a particular organization, and you'll, in turn, be making a stronger and easier-to-uphold commitment to yourself, says Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., a psychologist and friendship expert.
Make this resolution: "I'm going to volunteer five hours a week at the local soup kitchen."
First, research organizations with goals that hit your soft spot, then vet the orgÃ¢â‚¬”use CharityNavigator.com and speak to other people who work there, suggests Levine. If all looks good, find out what kind of help they need, and make sure that matches up with your skill set and how much time you can contribute.