Article originally published on January 15, 2020 | Updated June 29, 2021
If the resolutions and goals you once committed to have faded and you find yourself slipping back into old habits, you are not alone. Approximately 80% of people give up on their resolutions by February, and even goals unrelated to the New Year can quickly fall to the wayside. So how do you get back on track and what techniques can you use to stick with it?
Firstly, accepting that setbacks are normal in the process of change is a good start. Better still, thinking of these setbacks as temporary delays – not failures – can go a long way to staying encouraged. While it is expected and healthy to feel disappointed when we slip-up, we can’t let those feelings sabotage our hard work or cause us to give up altogether.
Learn more about four ways to turn a setback into a comeback!
Rephrase Goals & Be Specific
Sometimes we set goals that are vague and non-specific. To achieve our goals, they must be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
- Rephrase “I want to eat better” with “I will eat 4 servings of vegetables every day and log my progress in a food journal.”
- Rephrase “I want to reduce stress” with “I will take at least 5 minutes every day to take a few deep breaths, meditate and journal my thoughts and feelings.”
Surround Yourself with Positive People
A social group of goal-oriented, healthy-habit individuals cultivates positive self-esteem, growth and motivation to become the best version of yourself.
- Attract the right people by being yourself and identifying your values.
- Be thankful for the good people in your life and let go of the negative ones.
- When you find yourself being negative, observe how you feel, take a deep breath and move on. This helps train your brain to see the good in things.
- Find someone who will keep you accountable and motivated to reach your goals.
Transform Your Unhealthy Habits
Stress is often the underlying cause of unhealthy habits. Bad habits help us cope with stress, so it’s difficult to stop them “cold turkey.” Instead, gradually replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones.
- Replace unhealthy snacking while watching TV with exercise during commercials.
- Replace scrolling through your phone with 15 minutes of deep breathing, relaxation, meditation or stretching.
- Replace smoking with 5-10 minutes of exercise, such as jumping jacks, walking, or wall sits/push-ups.
Practice Forgiveness & Self-Kindness
Life’s ups & downs can sidetrack us from our goals and lead to negative self-talk and self-esteem. It’s important that we forgive ourselves when we slip up.
- Stop negative self-talk by pausing and imagining how you would speak to a friend in the same situation; then treat yourself with the same love, respect and compassion.
- Write down at least one positive affirmation about yourself every day. “I can do this – I am determined- I am worthy – I am happy – Setbacks are normal and I am still committed to my goals!”
Author: Shelley Gavin, Employee Wellness Coordinator