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Resolutions that Actually Work

Between sixty-four and eighty percent of new years’ resolutions are abandoned after one month, and most are never achieved at all. However, a few mindset changes can transition resolutions from unsuccessful to successful.

Effective cliché #1: Aim for progress rather than perfection. Performance that demands flawlessness typically dies in the graveyard of unrealism. The world is imperfect and seems to be quickly growing more complicated. Therefore, goals must adjust. For example, if a new diet restricts food intake to 1,500 calories per day, and you eat 1,749 calories, count that as a win. More could have easily been eaten, and those who have inhaled a 5,000-calorie banana split in ten minutes know this too well.

Effective cliché #2: Many interventions are marathons rather than sprints. Rarely is a worthy goal accomplished quickly and easily. Most life-changing achievements require more patience than 21st-century humans are accustomed to giving. In terms of the time necessary to achieve goals, grace is needed.

True cliché #3: Shoot for moon, and even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars. This means those who work towards goals but ultimately do not attain them usually gain some semblance of the target. For example, Melinda sets a weight-loss goal of four pounds per week with a total weight loss of 20 pounds over five months. However, she loses an average of three, rather than her projected four, pounds per month, and ultimately she loses only fifteen, rather than twenty, pounds. Melinda may be disappointed she did not lose twenty pounds. However, she can be grateful she shed fifteen, as she is fifteen pounds lighter than she was five months prior.

Use SMART goals. Research suggests SMART goals are more likely than others to succeed. SMART is an acronym and stands for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-oriented. For example, Melinda sets a SMART goal of losing one pound per week for fifteen weeks to achieve a total weight-loss goal of fifteen pounds. This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-oriented.


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