Keep working on those New Year’s resolutions

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Are you still working on it now? If not, you’re not alone! Only 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them and 80 percent stop working on them by February.

But now’s a great time to re-start your resolution!

The resolution is the “what,” like losing weight. But the more important piece is the “how.” This is the specific action you take to accomplish the “what.”

Be specific – are you going to go to the gym three days per week? Are you going to start packing your lunch for work?

Knowing your “why” is also important. Why do you want to lose weight? What will that bring you? Better health? More happiness because you can play with your kids more easily or participate in activities you had previously given up?

Know your “why” and make sure it’s big enough and strong enough to keep you going and working toward your goals. If you worked on your resolution but gave up or didn’t see the results you expected, the next step is problem-solving what went wrong.

Are your goals realistic? If you made a goal of working out every day, how realistic is that actually? Try starting smaller – plan to work out just two days a week for a month, then increase to three or four days per week. Think about striving for progress, not perfection. All you really need is to be better than you were the day before, even if it’s just one percent better.

Part of the problem-solving process is identifying the barriers or challenges that prevent you from achieving your goal. If you set a goal of exercising five days per week but find yourself only making it to the gym two days per week – what happened? Did you forget to factor in your kids’ weekly activities that prevent you from going to the gym after work?

What is a solution to overcome that challenge? Maybe you plan to exercise before work if possible on those days. Make a plan, be specific in the actions you are going to take to achieve your goals and anticipate any challenges that may trip you up. If you plan ahead and know the big “why” of your goals, you’ll set yourself up for success long-term.


Alison Bradow is the chronic disease prevention coordinator at the YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing. Contact her at  (517) 827-9656 or at 


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