Live your resolutions

Celebrate the little victories along the way

It's just a smidge past mid-January, how are you doing on your New Year's resolutions? Are you on the cabbage diet, intermittent fasting, riding miles up hilly terrain on your new Peloton, quitting smoking, participating in dry January, taking college classes or vowing to be debt-free this year? Are you on track to reach your goal by the established deadline? Have you already abandoned your goal? Or perhaps you didn't even make a resolution, and your dry January is a bit soggy. No need to feel like a failure, there's a different approach to resolutions and it doesn't have to involve shame, pressure or failure. In fact, it involves a lot of celebrating.

Statistica, one of the world's leading data platforms, found that approximately 39% of people surveyed in the U.S. set New Year's resolutions. The top three resolutions are as follows: 52% desire to exercise more, 50% want to eat healthier and 40% want to lose weight. These goals are no great surprise, but you might be surprised that according to, 43% of all people who set resolutions expect to fail before February, and almost one out of four quit within the first week of setting their New Year's resolution. This is a dismal report.

Nearly half of all people who set New Year's resolutions fail because their goal isn't connected to their why – that which is important to them. If your resolution is to exercise more, there is likely an underlying reason that is motivating you to exercise. Maybe you need to lower your blood pressure, reduce stress or lose weight, for example. That is the reason why you are running five miles a day, or taking a walk over your lunch break or hitting the bike trail and enjoying an evening ride. When you focus on what is important to you, then you know why your resolution is worth accomplishing. Your likelihood of success is much higher than that of the 43% who fail.

One more sure-fire way to make sure you follow through is to celebrate the little victories along the way. Don't wait for the big win to celebrate, like the person on the billboard who has lost over 100 pounds. That's a major goal, and it took many daily workouts to get to the big win. You have to celebrate those little victories – those days when you don't feel like working out but you do. My resolutions used to revolve around the number on the scale, the number of calories burned and exercising to the law of no pain, no gain. And, there was no celebration unless I executed the plan perfectly. Eventually, this approach became so restrictive that my days revolved around my workout schedule, and I wasn't enjoying the ride.

I made a new resolution to modify my approach to keeping my body healthy. I made difficult changes, but I knew why I was making them, and that made it easier to follow through. I tossed the scale. I stopped counting calories. I enjoyed ice cream. I took pain completely out of my workout, and I celebrated the little victories along the way.

I celebrate not stepping on the scale each day. I enjoy the serenity of a gentle yoga practice. I celebrate walking my dog instead of walking on a treadmill in a gym. These changes make me a happier person, and I look forward to my time to exercise and do something good for myself. Even on the days when my health app indicates that I haven't reached my goal of walking two miles, I still consider my effort a success.

What is important to you? What do you want to change to make your life a little better? Whatever it is, make your resolutions attainable. Break them into daily actions that are manageable, and celebrate your accomplishments each and every day.

Life goes by much too quickly. Moments make up our days, and days become years. Don't put your life on hold by waiting for the big win. Celebrate the small victories, and when you do hit it big, light up the sky with fireworks.

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