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Keep your resolutions flexible and be accountable

The new year is only two weeks old, which means approximately 25 percent of people have already given up on their resolutions. It you are one of the fortunate who are still going strong, you are not out of the clear yet. According to researchers at the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of people will keep their New Year’s resolutions all year.

Why the dismal success rate?

Changing behavior is hard. It may sound good to make a change on New Year’s Eve, but those old habits are like tire tracks in an old dirt road. As long as you drive in the tracks the road is smooth, but breaking an old habit is like trying to drive outside of those tracks. It is a hard and bumpy ride.

After the first couple days of a resolution, you probably faced challenges and temptations. At times, it probably seems easier toslide back into those old habits and drive down the smooth dirt road like you have a thousand times before. Surrendering to the hurdles only reinforces the tire tracks, guaranteeing an even harder challengethe next time you try to change.

. While it is important to stay positive, sometimes you need reinforcement to help you overcome challenges. Regardless if you gave up on your resolutions long ago or if you are still going strong, three quick tips can help you get back, or stay on, track.

Be Flexible

The success of any New Year’s resolution rests on how flexible you are to changing circumstances. One day you may feel really good. The next day might be a struggle. Humansare cyclical creatures. We ebb and flow.

By being flexible with yourself, you understanda bad day does not spell doom for your resolution. Instead, you can adjust, knowing that getting through the day will make you mentally stronger and more likely to succeed in the long run.

Be Accountable

Resolutions are most successful when you have someone to hold you accountable. Without any accountability, it becomes easy to fall behind on your resolution – especially on difficult days). Find a friend or family member to be your accountability buddy. Pick someone who is not afraid to let you know if you are slacking off. Ideally, your accountability buddy should not have made the same resolution as you. A neutral, third-party willhonestly assess your progress.

Be Realistic

Make sure your resolution is realistic. Many people fail to keep their resolution simply because they expect to change too much too soon, leading to unmet expectations. Review your resolution to make sure that it makes sense. Your accountability buddy is also a great person to conduct a reality check. It is much better to modify a goal than to give up.

While these tips will not guarantee your success, they will definitely improve your chances of being part of the 8 percent that keep their New Year’s resolutions all year.

Have a question?

Do you have a question about how to improve your athletic performance? Dr. David Schary invites questions or comments from any athlete, coach, or parent. Email any question or comment to scharyd@winthrop.edu.

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