Ready or not, 2017 is officially here. It’s time to reflect on 2016, make some New Year’s resolutions and, statistically, give up on them a few months into the year. After all, setting goals is easy – following through is hard. Sound all too familiar?
Don’t stress just yet – you’re far from alone. According to a recent study, 50% of people will make a resolution this month – but 29% won’t last two weeks, 36% won’t last one month and 54% will have completely given up by July. In fact, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals.
So, what’s the takeaway? If you’re serious about wanting to achieve your goals in 2017, you’ll need to beat the statistics with a strategic game plan and a total change of mindset. Focus on setting sustainable goals and making small, incremental steps towards them throughout the year.
Here are three of the most common New Year’s resolutions and 21 actionable steps you can take to actually achieve them:
Get Fit, Be Healthy
It’s probably no surprise that health-related goals (healthy eating, losing weight, getting fit, etc.) top the list as some of the most common resolutions. The pitfall? We tend to overdo it – committing to crash diets and over-the-top workout plans that are almost sure to fail long-term. This year, opt for a more manageable plan to improve your overall health:
- Stick to the outer aisles in the grocery store for fresh, whole foods.
- Eat out less to save yourself the additional 200 calories on average.
- Make eating at home fun (6 tips for dining in on date night).
- Focus on providing your body with colorful, nutrient-rich foods.
- Write down your “why” getting in shape – refer back to this often.
- Commit to 10 minutes of exercise a day, build from there.
- Add more vegetables into your daily diet.
Spend Less, Save More
A study by New York Life found that 61% of people planned to save more and 67% planned to reduce debt in 2017. Yet, U.S. adults currently save just 6% of their disposable income. Don’t just set a savings goal and hope for the best. Take action to build your wealth and reach your financial goals in 2017:
- Boost your 401(k) deferral rate by 1-2% – you won’t even miss it.
- When tempted to indulge in unnecessary online shopping, head outside for a walk instead.
- Save before you spend – prioritize a percentage of savings with every single paycheck.
- Eliminate subscription services you’ve signed up for over the year that no longer serve you using a tool like TrueBill.
- Commit to meal-planning every Sunday to avoid eating out, overspending, and wasting the food you buy.
- Time is money. Enjoy fully-prepared meals, delivered straight to your door.
- Track your spending habits by signing up for a free online app like Mint or Personal Capital.
Get Organized, Reduce Stress
The average American spends 55 minutes a day (roughly 12 days a year) looking for things they own but can’t find. Imagine what you COULD be doing with all that spare time: learning something new, traveling the world, spending quality time with family and friends. Get organized once and for all so you have time to spend on the things you actually care about:
- Get rid of what you don’t need – break up your belongings by category and create a schedule for when you’ll tackle each. Choose what you will keep, donate, or trash.
- Merge your to-do lists into one place like Todoist or Wunderlist.
- Integrate your to-do list app with your digital calendar to keep your goals top of mind.
- Unsubscribe from unnecessary subscription emails cluttering your inbox.
- Commit to a morning routine (that makes you happy) and a nightly routine of quickly tidying up and assessing the next day’s goals.
- Delete unnecessary apps on your phone.
- Clean out your drawers and get smart with storage to keep them that way.
Rather than setting yourself up for failure and self-loathing, take action every day to reach your goals. You can do this.