Studies show only about 20 percent of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions past February. While the odds are discouraging, there are several ways you can increase your chances of success. Here are some common barriers to staying on track and how to overcome them once and for all in 2020.
Barrier #1: You expect perfection.
It’s natural to be 100% all-in and vow to do everything right starting January 1. The problem is, one small slip-up can cause you to give up your goals completely. Instead of all or nothing, consider it a success if you stay on plan 80 or 90 percent of the time.
Barrier #2: You think you have to do it alone.
Some people believe success is a lot sweeter if they get there by themselves. On the other hand, if no one knows about your goals, it’s easier to give them up when the going gets tough. Tell family and friends what you’re striving for and ask them to encourage you and hold you accountable. If you face a really steep challenge, you might want to join or form a support group.
Barrier #3: The timing is off.
While January 1 may be the ultimate clean slate day, it’s not the only time to get a fresh start. Let’s say you want to go back to school for a master’s degree, but you can’t start in January because of commitments at work. Instead of giving up your dream, enroll in a session that starts later in the year.
Barrier #4: Your environment works against you.
It takes preparation to make changes in your life. If you’re going on a diet, for example, it makes sense to replace the junk food in your fridge with healthier options. Are you taking classes online? You might want to rearrange your living space to give yourself a quiet place to study.
Barrier #5: The rewards are too far in the future.
Some New Year’s resolutions can be extremely ambitious, like losing 50 pounds, learning to speak Chinese, earning a doctorate degree or saving $1 million for retirement. To avoid getting discouraged before you get to the finish line, reward yourself for accomplishments along the way, such as losing five pounds or reaching the end of each semester.
Beat the New Year’s odds by making—and keeping—resolutions that take you where you want to go in 2020 and for the rest of your life.