When Making New Year’s Resolutions Aim For Progress, Not Perfection

yellow post it notes stuck to a wooden background, each list a possible new years resolute ike lose weight, quit smoking or go to the gym more.

About 40% of Americans will make New Year’s resolutions this year. The problem is not making the resolution, but keeping it. So aim for progress, not perfection.

Research shows that up to 60% of all resolutions fail for one reason or another. But there are steps you can take to help you keep your resolutions. The most important thing to remember when trying to start the new year with a change is that perfection is unattainable. If you set out to set yourself up for a perfect outcome, you may have already failed. Instead, set your sights on progress, not perfection. Setting realistic goals for your New Year is the best way to ensure that you attain those goals that are important enough to you to try to achieve. If, at the end of 2015, you’ve moved the needle in a positive way, you’ll have made progress that you can be proud of.

Here are a few tips to guide you toward resolution success.

•Make your goal attainable. If you want to lose weight, for instance, saying “I’m going to lose 20 pounds,” may be unrealistic.  The body will not always cooperate with our desires. There are many reasons why you may not be able to meet your goal. Instead, create a more realistic goal of “staying on my chosen eating plan.” Research shows that staying on an eating plan — any healthy eating plan — will yield weight loss. The key is consistency, not perfection. Let your body be the judge of how much weight you can lose within a certain time frame.

•Expect to have set-backs. You are human, after all, so you will back-slide. But if you embrace the idea that what you want is progress, not perfection, you will be able to put your slips into perspective. And that will allow you to pick yourself up and begin again, making it more likely that you will succeed in the long run.

•Accept that change is hard. Face it, it’s easier to eat a cupcake than not, especially if you’re at your favorite nieces 6th birthday party and the cupcakes are your favorite flavor. But research shows that any change that can last just 3 weeks can become permanent. So what you need is balance. Once again, aim for progress, not perfection. As you make your resolutions, make a plan for how you might handle such a situation. Take time to think about how staying on your diet might effect your life. Imagine what you will be giving up to reach your goal, (like food at your niece’s party) and come up with ways to deal with both the feelings the situation will create and the possibility of a slip-up. Having a plan of how you will handle tough situations will make it easier to accept the real consequences of your decision.

Making positive changes is a great way to start the new year. Just make sure you are realistic about your efforts, and aim for moving forward toward your goal. Perfection, as the saying goes, is the enemy of the good. Don’t let the idea of perfection derail your New Year’s resolutions.

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