It's that time of year again - the time when everyone is giving up on resolutions for the new year. According to some studies, only 8% of people successfully achieve their resolutions.
Why is it so hard to keep our resolutions? And more importantly, what can we do to increase our chances of success?
In this blog post, I'm going to share some tips from five supportive spouses who are successfully keeping their New Year's resolutions in 2022.
Why Our Resolutions Fail
One reason people give up on their resolutions is that they set themselves up for failure. They try to do too much or make resolutions that are impossible to keep.
For example, if you're trying to lose weight, don't vow never to eat dessert again. Instead, try setting a goal of eating healthier foods and exercising more. This way, you're more likely to succeed, and you won't feel so discouraged when you slip up occasionally.
Another reason people fail is that they don't have a plan. If you want to save money, for example, figure out how much money you need to save each month and develop a plan for how you will achieve this goal. Vowing to save "some money" is much more likely to fail than if you set a specific goal.
People also give up on their resolutions because they don't have any support. This is especially true for spouses trying to change or improve themselves.
For example, if you're trying to quit smoking, it's helpful to have your spouse on your side. A supportive spouse will remind you why you quit and provide encouragement and support when you're feeling tempted to smoke.
It's only natural to try and fail a few times before you finally find success. However, if you and your spouse are truly struggling to hold each other accountable and meet your goals, it's time to recalibrate yourselves for progress.
5 Tips For Helping Each Stick To Your New Year Resolutions
So, what can you and your spouse do to make sure that you stick to your resolutions this year? Here are five ways I've seen couples overcome the odds and keep each other on track.
1. "If one of you already slipped up, shake it off and try again."
As humans, we're bound to make mistakes, but that doesn't mean you can't get back on track. For example, just because you made a mistake and missed a few days (or weeks) of gym time doesn't mean your health resolutions are ruined forever.
In January, Jeff and Tara from Columbus, OH, set a goal of living a healthier lifestyle and committed to spending more time with each other during the workweek.
I recently caught up with the couple and asked them to give me some insight into how their 2022 resolutions are going. At the end of our quick interview, Jeff explained the importance of finding your why.
"Think about the reason you made your resolutions in the first place. The real reason people create goals is to find more joy. Living a healthy lifestyle leads to longevity; it gives us more time for adventures. Spending more time together helps us achieve a more satisfying relationship. It all comes down to creating more joy."
Jeff and Tara offer this simple advice: as you recalibrate yourselves to keep your new year resolutions, discuss the deeper motivation behind your goals in 2022.
According to Tara, "When you keep your eye on the why behind your resolution, it's easy to forgive yourself for messing up and move forward with your best effort. So if one of you already slipped up, shake it off and try again."
2. "It's easier to keep New Year resolutions that start small."
When I asked newlyweds Damion and Kenya from Cleveland, OH, how their resolutions were going, they explained that they're trying something different this year. Instead of going big and making an overwhelming commitment, they are aiming for little successes with the hope of making progress over time.
"Don't try to do too much at once. Instead, set small goals that you can easily achieve. It’s easier to keep New Year resolutions that start small. This year, we're just working on saving a little money each month until we can pay off our wedding. We already paid the smallest balance, so now we're just working our way up," Kenya tells me.
The couple agreed to set aside a little bit from each paycheck and chip away at the debt until it's gone. Working together to tackle life's challenges makes things twice as easy. Not only does accomplishing a life goal with your spouse offer a chance for bonding, but if you set your sights on mutual financial goals, it can also improve your quality of life.
3. “Just make a plan and stick to it.”
Without a map to guide your journey, there's no telling where you're headed. Marie-Louise and Jason of Cincinnati, OH, just celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary, and they've made many resolutions along the way. They told me the best way to keep a resolution is to lay out a plan for success.
"Figure out how you will achieve your goals and make a timeline for yourself," Jason explains. "Just make a plan and stick to it. It helps keep you accountable. You can always adjust the plan as things come up. We're just taking it one step at a time."
The couple decided their goal for 2022 is to remodel their kitchen. The project is extra special because they committed to a do-it-yourself approach that gives them a chance to work together as a team and reinforce the foundation of trust that keeps them going.
4. “You need to be supportive of your spouse.”
There's nothing worse than feeling unsupported by the people you love the most. So when Sylvania, OH resident Rachel resolved to quit drinking alcohol, her wife Kelly prioritized supporting her.
"It's all about providing encouragement and helping to keep each other motivated," Kelly tells me. “You need to be supportive of your spouse, otherwise they aren’t as invested in the resolution.”
When Rachel and Kelly socialize with other couples, Kelly helps keep Rachel on track by staying sober with her and mixing up fun mocktails at parties. While you don't necessarily have to go all-in by resolving to give up the same things, gestures like Kelly's are a great example of what it looks like to show support in a tangible way.
5. “Celebrating success keeps me going.”
When you reach milestones in your resolutions, celebrate with your spouse. Antonio and Sofia of New Albany, OH, don't hesitate to celebrate each other for achieving their goals throughout the year.
"I resolved to paint more often. So every time I finish a new painting, Tony hangs it up, and we'll have a glass of wine, just something small. I'm on my third painting of 2022," Sofia explains. “Celebrating success keeps me going.”
Keeping each other motivated with little acknowledgments and celebrations is incredibly effective. Just knowing your progress is seen and appreciated by your spouse can be enough to keep many on track to maintain their resolutions.
The New Year is a time for new beginnings, and it's still early enough that you can make your resolutions happen. With a bit of effort, support, and planning, you can be one of the few couples who successfully keep them.
Did these tips help? What are some other ways that spouses can support each other in keeping their New Year's resolutions?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
*Names have been changed to protect client privacy.