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7 Ways to Make (And Keep) Your New Year's Resolutions

Have you made your 2020 New Year’s resolutions yet? 

If you’re thinking about what habits you may begin or end this year, you’re probably also wondering how you can actually keep the resolutions you make. After all, fewer than 25 percent of people can stick with their resolutions for 30 days, and only eight percent of people actually end up keeping their resolutions an entire year. It can seem like resolutions are made simply to be broken (and if you don’t believe us, take a look at the gyms around your area once February 1 rolls around). 

“New Year’s resolutions can actually be positive things, especially for older adults,” says Greg Lazzaro, Life Enrichment Director of Waterstone at the Circle. “All of us can benefit from making positive changes in our lives, like eating a healthy diet or getting more exercise. And we don’t make resolutions intending to break them, since our intentions are generally always good. Unfortunately, most of us make big, swooping resolutions that aren’t just hard to follow – they’re almost impossible to keep.”

What anyone making resolutions this year should do, says Greg, is make a better effort to choose resolutions that are achievable and actionable. “Humans are creatures of habit, and breaking habits is difficult,” he says. “In order to change our behaviors, we need the right environment, strong motivation, social support and time. That’s why so many experts suggest making small, manageable changes that you can attain easily in order to give you a confidence boost and increase your chances of success.”

If you’re hoping to make some real change in your life in 2020, here are some smart tips for making resolutions that you’ll want – and be able – to stick with. 

1. Think small. 

Bigger isn’t always better. That’s not to say that setting big goals should be discouraged – far from it. The way to approach big goals, like “exercising every day” or “never eating chocolate again,” is by breaking them down into much smaller goals and then focusing on those one at a time. Wanting to get more exercise? Don’t try running five miles every night – shoot for a walk around the block to start off with. Never eating chocolate again? Sounds awful – why not simply limit the amount you eat instead of swearing it off entirely? Making small (or smaller), attainable goals means you’ll be able to reach or keep them, which can give you the confidence you need to make more, small-yet-steady life changes. 

2. Be specific. 

“Losing weight” is a great goal. But how much do you want to lose? And how quickly do you want to lose it? Without defining your actual goal (and keeping it attainable – see Tip #1), it’s easy to lose your motivation in the shuffle. The more detailed you can be, the easier it will be to focus on your end game. What weight would you like to be in a month (and what is reasonable)? In three months? By the end of the year? Having specific goals will keep you encouraged as you see progress. 

3. Get an accountability buddy. 

Resolutions are easier to keep when we share them with others. Making your goals public holds us accountable, and makes it harder for us to back out of them. Plus, finding an “accountability buddy” gives you someone who can cheer you on and maybe even join you in your quest. For example, if you get a walking buddy who you meet up with every other day, you’ll be more motivated to actually follow through because you don’t want to disappoint her. 

4. Map your course. 

In order to make your resolution come true, you need to make time for it. Although that may be easy at the beginning of your journey, it can become drudgery by the end of that first month and you’ll find yourself not making the time for it. Instead, take action and find ways to make things happen. Do meal planning every week or plot your monthly savings goals so you only have to think about things on occasion – not every day. 

5. Check in regularly. 

Everything changes over time, even New Year’s resolutions. It’s possible that the goal you set on January 1 may be too aggressive come February 1 – or you may find it’s not aggressive enough. Experts suggest sitting down and examining your goals every so often (once a month is fine) and tweak your plan based on your experiences and what is reasonable. You may have found that exercising every day for an hour isn’t feasible due to a health issue, or perhaps you find you’re not investing as much into savings as you want. Reevaluate your goals regularly in order to keep yourself on track and rightsize them for your life and lifestyle.

6. Celebrate successes, no matter how small. 

If you’re only focusing on the end result, it’s easy to become discouraged when your progress slows and stalls (which it will, due to no fault of your own). It may be easy to lose 10 pounds right off the bat when you start eating better, but then you may see your weight loss slow down or come to a halt – which is discouraging if you still have 15 pounds to go. That’s why celebrating and rewarding the smaller successes are so important. Instead of waiting to celebrate after you’ve lost the whole 25 pounds, pat yourself on the back whenever you lose 5. Reward yourself with something nice (that won’t throw you off your goals) and savor the moment. You’ve earned it. 

7. Don’t give up. 

We all will slip up now and again. It’s estimated that 75 percent of goal-setters will do an “oopsie” within the first two months of making changes to their lives. But one screw-up does not a failure make. Remember the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Instead of focusing on your failures, look instead at all the positive change you’ve made. Your successes haven’t been negated because you slipped up once. Instead, give yourself some grace, acknowledge your mistake, figure out how to keep it from happening again and move forward. 

Finally, the most important tip is to believe in yourself. Anything is possible, and if you tell yourself that you can do it, you’re more likely to find yourself in a good place once the ball drops in Times Square next year. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to keep your 2020 New Year’s resolutions, or if you’re wondering how a luxury senior living community like Waterstone at the Circle can help you live an active and fulfilled life, contact us today at 617.431.1880.

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Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it’s a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and an urban lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill. 

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The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.

Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring. . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our premiere Boston Independent Living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!