We are just a few weeks away from Second Half of the Year Day. (Don’t worry, no greeting card necessary.)
The beginning of July – the first or the second depending on if it’s a leap year – marks the halfway point through the 365-day trip around the sun. That makes it a great time to check in on your New Year’s resolutions, whether it was exercising, eating right, drinking water or kicking a bad habit.
How are you doing? If you remember what your resolutions were, give yourself a gold star. If you’re actually keeping them, congratulations! Studies show you are one of only 20% that make it past February.
If you are like the other 80 percent, fear not. We have some suggestions for getting back on track so you don’t have this same feeling six months from now.
Ask yourself: Is your resolution achievable?
Could you have set your goal too high? Consider recalibrating to something more realistic or plotting out incremental goals that lead to the bigger one. Smaller successes are a major incentive toward achieving larger ones.
If exercising regularly is not your thing – not even an after-dinner stroll – and on Jan. 1 you pledged to work out for an hour every single day, you may be over reaching.
But if you have been making it two or three times a week – that’s fantastic! Adjust your resolution and call it a win. Once you feel comfortable with that level, decide if you want to push yourself more by adding another day.
If you’ve decided that your resolution is achievable, then try to identify the main obstacles to your success and remove them.
If you vowed to save more money (which was the top resolution of 2018, according to Statistica.com) but you can’t stop hitting the ATM, create an account with an automatic transfer that is not accessible with your money card.
There is some truth to the old saying: Out of sight, out of mind.
Picture yourself already succeeding
Perform a little self-analysis. Think about why you want to achieve your goal. What will the end result do for you? If another six months goes by and you haven’t succeeded, how will you feel? Can you handle that?
Now picture yourself as a complete success. What has it done for you? How do you feel? What can you do or achieve now that you couldn’t before?
These mental exercises can be incredible motivators when you are honest with your answers.
Grab a pen and tell a friend
Studies show that when you write your goals down and regularly share your progress with a friend or colleague, you are much more likely to achieve them.
Make it a group project by sharing your goals with one another and meeting for weekly updates. The moral support of others working toward their own goals can be as helpful as the accountability they provide.
Use your brain’s language
Take written goals a step further by using if-then planning. That’s the simple act of framing your goal in a way that research shows is conducive to how your brain works: If X then Y.
Is one of your resolutions to drink more water each day? Start out with a full bottle each morning and tell yourself: If it’s 10 a.m. and there’s still water in my bottle, then I will finish it and refill it.
That may seem so simple it’s silly, but the Harvard Business Review cites research that shows people who frame their goals in this way are up to 300% more likely to achieve them – 300%! With that kind of success rate, it’s worth a try – silly or not.
So, if you’ve reached the end of this article, then it’s time to revisit your New Year’s resolutions. If you’re struggling, then simply resolve to begin again.