Millions of us make annual New Year’s resolutions, but very few of us stick with them beyond the end of February each year. Studies show that about 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. That isn’t a number we feel comfortable with so this year, we are checking in with our expert instructors for advice on how to pick and stick to a healthy New Year's resolution.

Research has found that one of the biggest reasons resolutions fail is because we are often so unreasonable with our goals. If you are resolving to do something that you’ve never done before, we’ve provided some suggestions here to keep it realistic, attainable, and actionable.

Burnalong wants to help our members choose healthy new habits to support and sustain their healthy new lifestyle in the new year. Read on for our best tips on choosing your new healthy habit.

Focus on the motivation

Before you embark on a change of behavior, consider why this change of behavior is important. What does thing change accomplish? How does it fit in with your other goals (i.e. family, work, health, relationships, etc.)?

As Burnalong trainer Jana Arellano, explains, “Understand why you want this habit or resolution. If you want to increase productivity, why do you want to do this? If you want to lose weight, why do you want to lose weight? The ‘why’ helps the goals stick.”

When you have moments where your resolve starts to falter (or you resent the slightly earlier alarm clock), it helps to be clear on your why. Why do you want to eat healthier and exercise? Why do you want to start meditating more regularly? Why do you want to improve your financial health?

Cherie Blier, another Burnalong instructor, explained it this way; “[t]ake time to sit down with WHY you want to implement those changes. The why must hold some power. The power of why is an anchor to keep you going when things are more challenging. Which WILL happen……A commitment to a healthier lifestyle for the long road needs to be understood or the cycle of self-sabotage will always continue.”

Being at your ideal weight and being healthy are fine goals. But, if you don’t have a good “why”, it is far too tempting to eat the unhealthy treats or hit the snooze button rather than log in for a quick class.

Sticking with a new habit will be difficult if your motivation is superficial. If your new habit is based on what others are doing, you won’t stick with it when the going gets tough. As Dr. Steffany Moonaz explains, “Is it something that matters to you, or is it about what other people want/think? If it isn’t internally motivating, it is less likely to stick.”

When you tap into what you really want – to keep up with your children on a hike, to set a good example for them, to live long enough to see them become parents – you anchor yourself to a solid foundation that will help you maintain your new habit.

Be realistic with the amount of time you have to commit (and commit)

It’s important to schedule your new habit in if you want to make it stick! Since your new habit isn’t automatic (yet), you have to decide ahead of time when you will practice it and then stick to that schedule until it is automatic. As you are planning out your schedule, commit to practicing that habit for a realistic amount of time too.

Burnalong instructor, Sarah Miller, urges to “Just commit to showing up. The rest will come.” Sometimes, you just need to commit to practicing the new habit for 2 minutes, at first. Then, 5, then 10, and build from there. It’s important to set goals you know you can reach so that you have a steady build of small wins along the way.

One way to do this effectively is to establish a minimum baseline for your new habit. If you know that you’d like to practice this new habit for 60 minutes per day, but don’t always have that much time, don’t set yourself up for failure. Set a minimum baseline of 5, 10, or 20 minutes, or whatever amount of time you can realistically commit to. Then, if you can practice the habit for longer, that’s a bonus.

Chelsie Ahue, also a Burnalong instructor, explains that “small, consistent actions will always be the key. Whatever you can be consistent with on a daily basis, DO that. This will compound into remarkable results in the end!”

Set your intentions and goals in advance

As Jennifer Williamson says, “Intention is more than wishful thinking. It’s a willful direction.” Intentions are a plan of action combined with the determination to take that action. To set an intention is to draw the road map that motivates you to action and results.

Burnalong instructor, Jennie Jackson, explained the yoga way of setting intentions and goals this way: “There is a powerful yoga practice and tool to help plant and water the seed of a new habit/goal. It is a process that involves spending time creating your habit/goal/intention…and then curating it into a statement…. Make sure your statement is clear, concise, positive, and in the present tense. Then, the mafic is in planting that deep into your system for manifestation while in deep relaxation…”

Whether or not you’re a yogi, setting an intention and goal in advance is a powerful tool to anchor your commitment to the new habit or way of being that serves you well during the busyness of everyday life. As Jennie says, “This is a really effective way to have power over your mind when wanting to implement change.”

As Corie Mustoe, certified health and life coach and Burnalong instructor, says, “Embrace where you are now. Accept the fact that you want to make lasting lifestyle changes. Seek guidance from a health coach to reinforce your goals, hold you accountable and celebrate your successes! It is important to love yourself along the way…and set obtainable goals.” Don’t commit too much too soon. Set yourself up for success by setting goals you know you can reach and slowly move the bar.

Burnalong instructor Arwen Elaine suggests you make SMART goals – goals that are “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive.”

Once you set your goals, consider looping in someone who can help hold you accountable. Having an accountability structure is key to making changes to reach your goals. It seems that the bigger the goal, the more essential it is to have social support to keep it up.

What’s next?

Many of us have created New Year’s resolutions in the past and have not been able to keep them. The good news is – next year can be different! We don’t have to rely on our past results. You now have a plan to choose a healthy habit that will stick.

Plus, you are not alone. With Burnalong programs, communities, and instructors cheering you on, we will be with you every step of the way. We are launching a brand-new challenge in the new year to help our members start, and stick, to new healthy habits. You can also sign up for our new programs that will help you tackle something new with bite-size pieces that grow along the way.

Finally, don’t forget to give yourself grace along the way. It’s about the journey, even if the destination looks a little different than you originally expected. Burnalong instructor Crystal Dawn Rios says, “Commitment is at the heart of the work I do. Begin with a baseline commitment such as, “I commit to growing a nervous system that can handle more energy.” Write it down. Write it over and over with both hands. Post notes around your home.”

Those little reminders and room to grow will go a long way to helping you pick, and stick, to your new habit.

If you aren’t a current member and want to learn more about how Burnalong can support your personal or employees’ health goals, reach out to your customer success manager or schedule a quick call with us now.