We all have really good intentions at the beginning of the year, and often set noble goals that we hope to achieve. Maybe your New Year’s resolution was to deal with the clutter in your home once and for all, or to finally quit smoking, create (and stick to!) a family budget, get more exercise, or eat healthier. But now it’s April, three long months since you made those promises to yourself, and it’s possible that you’ve gotten a little off track.
You know what? You’re definitely not alone. According to Forbes, fewer than 25% of people actually stay committed to their New Year’s resolutions beyond 30 days, and just 8% actually end up accomplishing them.1 So perhaps you’re one of the 75% of people who were unable to make your resolutions stick. But the good news is that there are no hard and fast rules as far as self-improvement timelines go. You can recommit to your goals and restart your journey any time you want to—and April is just as good a time as any!
If you’re in need of some inspiration to help motivate you, these tips might be exactly what you need to get back on track:
- Learn from your journey. Think about when you got off track and try to remember what was going on in your life. Consider your personal relationships, your mental and physical health, your work schedule and other personal and professional commitments. If you can pinpoint the time it began to become difficult to continue pursuing your goal, you may be able to figure out why you faltered and how to avoid it happening again. And if you can’t change your circumstances, then maybe you can think of another way to achieve your goal by switching gears, rerouting, and trying again.
- Be realistic. It’s possible that part of the reason your resolutions got put on the back burner is because you bit off a little more than you could chew. Big goals are good—it’s great to strive for greatness—but smaller goals are easier to achieve, and many small successes can help keep you motivated. Break that one large goal down into smaller, more easily digestible chunks and celebrate each milestone you reach. For example, if you want to quit smoking, commit to going smoke-free for one full week. Once that’s under your belt, aim for two weeks, then a full month. Each time you reach a small goal, celebrate that achievement and then move onto the next one.
- Be patient. Remember, setbacks are perfectly normal. They’re not failures, they’re bumps in the road. Eating half a cake doesn’t mean you can never eat healthy again – it just means you slipped up and have to recalibrate. Tomorrow is another day, and you can try again. And again and again, if need be.
- Stop feeling guilty. As we said, setbacks are normal, so banish the guilt you feel if and when it happens. Guilt is a wasted emotion that saps you of your mental energy, and you need all the energy you can muster to keep pushing forward. Instead, acknowledge your setback, learn from it and simply move on.
- Celebrate your success. Even if your resolution lasted just four days, it lasted four whole days! Celebrate the fact that you recognized an area in your life that you felt needed improvement, and took the necessary steps to start making changes. Don’t focus on the fact that you didn’t continue, focus on the fact that you started in the first place, and remember that you can start again right now!
Making positive changes in your life is a wonderful thing, but it’s not always easy to break old habits and stick to new ways of doing things. Be gentle with yourself, and know that you’re always doing your best. Life gets in the way, but striving to make even the smallest changes to make yourself healthier or happier is a good and noble goal.
Don’t forget that resolutions can also be about being committed to reaching out to others and finding ways to touch the lives of friends, family members, and people in your community. It’s about resolving to make the world a better, kinder, happier place.
417024D CAN/US (04/19)