Sticking to your resolutions doesn’t have to be difficult.

It is that time of year when we all start thinking about fresh starts and making resolutions. Unfortunately, sticking to a resolution is a lot harder than most people think. The statistics aren’t comforting: Less than 25% of people are still following their resolutions after 30 days. Ultimately, only 8% of people actually accomplish their resolutions. With that kind of failure rate, it can be easy to start beating yourself up if you get off track. The good news is you can take certain steps to help set yourself up for success and recover quickly if you break your resolution.

Set SMART goals.

To start, instead of resolutions, think about setting SMART goals. This acronym stands for:

  • Specific: Think about the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your goal. Be as specific as possible about your goal, so you can visualize it and feel more motivated to make it happen.
  • Measureable: Tracking your progress is an important part of setting and meeting your goals. Once you hit a certain milestone and experience some success, you will want to keep going.
  • Achievable: You have to be realistic. What can you actually accomplish? Do you have the necessary resources and support to achieve your goal? If not, you may want to adjust.
  • Relevant: Does your goal align with other parts of your life? Is it something actually worth doing to live a better life?
  • Time-bound: The more parameters you can establish when it comes to your goals, the more likely you will be able to achieve them. Think about what you can accomplish in a week or a month. Setting smaller deadlines is essential to staying motivated.

Using these guidelines will help you better define your goals and set you up for success from the beginning.

Start with small goals.

One of the keys to successfully making changes is setting small goals. This will help you make your resolutions more manageable and will create a time-bound and measurable goal. It is a lot easier to start eating more vegetables than it is to change your diet, start working out, and lose 20 pounds all within a few weeks. You can eat healthier and feel good about meeting a small goal. Once a change has become a habit, you can start setting other small goals, and over time, you will find you are actually tackling that larger goal. You will just be doing it one small step at a time.

Enlist some help.

Whether you want someone, like a coach, to hold you accountable or you want a friend to help support you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Achieving your goals will be a lot easier and more enjoyable if you have someone by your side. Even just talking about your goals with someone will make each goal feel more real and will help motivate you to follow through.

Forgive yourself.

There is a good chance your journey toward achieving your resolutions and meeting your goals won’t be a smooth one. You may trip up along the way, but it is important to not let a tiny setback completely derail your progress. That means being kind to yourself and forgiving your mistakes. Think about how you would talk to a friend if they were feeling bad about getting off track. Chances are you wouldn’t berate them or make them feel ashamed. Treat yourself with the same level of kindness, and don’t let your inner monologue get away from you. Forgive yourself, dust yourself off, and keep at it.

Prevent self-sabotage.

Instead of trying to resist temptation, remove temptation. For example, if you usually crave some chocolate late at night when you are feeling sleepy and more likely to overindulge, don’t have those temptations available in the house. Perhaps you can keep treats in your desk at work or in your car. Just remember you are much less likely to self-sabotage your goals if temptation isn’t right at your fingertips. This is another simple way you can set yourself up for success and make it easier to meet your goals.

Don’t make resolutions.

It feels like there is a lot of pressure to make big changes at the beginning of every new year, but you don’t have to buy into the narrative. Not only can you set goals and make your resolutions at any point throughout the year, you don’t have to bother with them at all, especially if it doesn’t feel like the right time. There may be other parts of your life that demand more attention. You don’t have to take time away from those priorities to jump on the resolution bandwagon.

Letting yourself off the hook when it comes to your resolutions may actually be just the stress relief you need. Instead of submitting yourself to self-criticism, be grateful for where you are now. Don’t let the pressures of the season trick you into making resolutions you can’t possibly achieve.

If achieving a healthier smile is one of your goals, the team at Berrien Dental is here to help. We can provide you with the expert guidance and care you need to improve your smile, protect your health, and feel better about yourself. Take that first step toward reaching your goal by giving us a call and scheduling an appointment. Our staff can help you get started today.