7 Habits of Highly Successful Resolution Setters

 Jake Panasevich

It's just over one week into the new year, and reports show that 25 percent of resolutions have already been broken. By the end of the year, less than 10 percent of resolutions will have been kept. So how do the few who follow through with their resolutions succeed?

Research shows that the right mentality is the most important component to make long-lasting healthy changes. If you are grateful or take pride in what you are doing, you will have more self-control. So this year, stick to your resolutions by cultivating a healthier attitude. Here's how:

1. Practice yoga.

Yoga connects you to the reason why you made a resolution. Every time you practice yoga, you set an intention. You make a commitment to yourself and your vision. If you are not clear on the underlying purpose of your goal, then you will ultimately fall short. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, ask yourself why you want to lose it. Dropping 20 pounds for the sake of seeing a number on your scale is not enough. Yoga, on the other hand, will challenge you to ask yourself what carrying extra weight is truly costing you. Perhaps you want to lose weight because it's because you want to be more energetic and passionate with your spouse. If you do not get clear on your purpose, you will lose the motivation to keep going when it gets tough.

2. Develop a morning routine.

"Win the morning, win the day." That saying holds true for maintaining a healthy mentality. Wake up at the same time every day and develop a ritual that helps you start your day. A good strategy is to start with a tall glass of water to help aid digestion, then do a short exercise or stretching session. Once you have moved your body, you will be ready to spend five minutes quietly either in meditation or journaling. Focus on three things that you are grateful for. Allow the first thing to be something very simple, such as the weather or the house you live in. Then, the next two will be easier to identify. Regularly acknowledging that you are appreciative will help you become more compassionate and proud of the path you are on.

3. Have a way to physically reset.

If you want to shift your perspective, shift your physical state first. When you feel lethargic and unmotivated, get up and move your body. Even if it's just for 10 minutes, physical activity will help change your mindset. When I feel stuck, I stop what I'm doing and either go for a walk or do a series of exercises like jumping jacks, pushups or a yoga sequence. It gets my heart rate up, my blood flowing and forces me to deepen my breath and focus my mind on the present moment. This strategy prevents me from going down a spiral of negativity. Even taking a cold shower or sitting in a sauna are great tools to reboot your body – and thus your mind.

4. Hold yourself accountable.

If you have something or someone to keep you honest, it will help you develop a sense of pride. Find an accountability buddy. Have a regularly scheduled conversation with him or her on a weekly or monthly basis. Join a like-minded community that meets regularly to discuss members' goals. Be open about your resolution, and share it with someone you respect and care about. If you are working to get stronger, find a class, join a gym or sign up for a recreational sports team that demands you show up for both yourself and the group.

Hold yourself accountable, too. If you are working to keep a positive attitude, wear a bracelet on your wrist. Make yourself switch the bracelet to the opposite wrist every time you catch yourself complaining. Just the simple, physical action of taking off and switching the placement of the bracelet will help reinforce positive thinking.

5. Meditate daily.

Meditation is a great way to become less reactive. It teaches you to pause and observe your thoughts before you respond. When you find yourself craving to break your resolution, meditation will give you the discipline to choose what you really want in the long term, rather than what will be the most instantly gratifying. The Headspace app, a guided meditation that you can listen to anywhere, is a great way to start. I recommend having a meditation practice in the morning and before you go to bed. This will clear your mind and calm you down to start your day and to get a good night's sleep.

6. Start journaling.

Take a short amount of time every day to journal. There is an app called Five Minute Journal that makes this process seamless. Do not overthink what you are writing. Use it as a platform to air all of your complaints, concerns or any other clutter rattling your mind. Going through this process gives your thoughts a place to be contained so that they are not racking your mind throughout your day. This helps eliminate unnecessary mental clutter, and instills a deeper focus on what is truly important.

7. Have fun.

You have to enjoy what you are doing in order for it to work. If you are dragging yourself to the gym and forcing yourself to run on the treadmill while you watch the clock hoping for it to end, you will eventually burn out. However, if you go to a group class and you work out more frequently because you are enjoying it, you will be more likely to reach your goals. Combine the things you enjoy with the habits you are trying to change. For instance, complement your cardio with a fun playlist.

Focus on getting better, not being perfect. Acknowledge your milestones along the way with positive reinforcement. Reward yourself with a long, hot shower after working out. Another option is to treat yourself to a healthy dinner out. Enjoy yourself and practice being positive to make your resolutions stick this year.

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