Making your New Year’s resolutions stick

Making your New Year’s resolutions stick
iStock/LajosRepasi
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Have you made a New Year’s resolution? They’re difficult to stick to. In fact, most people quit within the first month.

Many of us want to start 2018 with a fresh start, but as triathlete David Hebgen has learned, giving up a resolution is as easy as making one.

“I’ve done New Year’s resolutions in the past,” Hebgen said. “A lot of things in my life I’ve stalled on. It’s like you get going and something interferes.”

He signed up for the Ironman last September, but used the new year to focus on his training and to get motivated.

“It ended up working out for me, definitely helped. I found a good team to help me out with my training and completing that task,” Hebgen said.

Christine Whelan, clinical professor in the School of Human Ecology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, said it’s that accountability that helped Hebgen be resolute in his resolution.

“A goal without a purpose is like a how without a why,” she said.

Whelan said to reach your New Year’s goal this year, choose one that matters to you and focus your energy on it.

“Often times, we’re much more likely to achieve those resolutions if they’re in keeping with what we care about most,” Whelan said.

She adds that behavior change is hard and it takes about three months for it to become a habit. To make sure you don’t quit along the way, she suggests finding a friend so you don’t go at it alone.

“Keep a calendar, make it fun. You can set up a reward system and you can all hold each other accountable, which is something kids would particularly like to do to hold their parents accountable,” Whelan said.

Then, give yourself a start date. Choosing a date is important, Whelan said, because it gives you a start date, but it doesn’t have to be New Year’s Day. For Hebgen, that date did end up being Jan. 1, but going forward he said when he’s ready to do something, he’ll jump in and do it.

Grab your friends, family, even your kids and make 2018 the year you stick to those resolutions.