We all make them, think about them, start them and then, well you know the drill, by February we have forgotten what we resolved to do and sadly we are back to our old habits and old self once more. We resolve to change on January 1st and do better but many of us fall into the category of resolution starters and not finishers. Forbes.com reports that just 8% of people achieve their new year’s resolutions, 8% whopping percent! Well this year you can be a finisher. You can resolve to make positive changes in your life and stick with it if you will do one simple thing each day, journal.
I know what you are thinking, yeah right, but hear me out on how journaling will help you keep your resolutions for the coming year.
- Writing in a journal will get your resolutions on paper. A plan or goal written down is more powerful than a wish in your head. You may have heard this before but it’s definitely worth repeating. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. The concept is attributed to Ben Franklin, one of the best journalers and resolvers ever. So get specific, write your goals down. Things to remember when setting goals are:
- Make sure they are attainable. You can’t lose 100 lbs in 4 weeks, sorry doesn’t work that way. You can set a goal to lose 4 lbs/month and more than likely easily reach that goal, 4 lbs/month is 48 lbs per year, that is pretty good progress in my book!
- Make them simple and specific. We’ll go back to our weight loss example, don’t be vague and say you want to lose some weight this year, or you want to exercise more, some and more are not measurable values. Instead, be more specific such as I want to walk 3 times a week for 30 minutes, or join the gym and exercise for 1 hour after work each day.
- By writing in a journal daily you will keep yourself accountable and focused on your goals. Ever had a food journal? Had to check in with someone about your progress on a project? When you check in you are more committed to following through. You spend more time thinking about what you are trying to accomplish and less time distracted with the little things in life that come up and distract us all from achieving our goals. When I regularly keep a healthy living journal I am able to plan ahead what I will eat and then look back at the end of the day and see if I followed through with my plan for the day or where I veered off and need to do better the next day.
- Journaling daily will keep you healthier. No really, it’s been studied for years and even those going through major life illnesses like cancer and HIV saw improved health because of journaling daily. The British journal of Advances in Psychiatric Treatment http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/11/5/338.full reports many health benefits of journaling but here are a few you might not realize are a side effect of journaling:
- Fewer stress related visits to the doctor
- Improved immune system
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improved memory
- Feeling of greater mental well being
- Reduced depression
- Reduced absenteeism from work
- And best of all journaling helps you look back and see how far you’ve come, it is a huge boost to the self esteem to see that yes, I can do hard things and I did!
So take the time to dust off your journal or pick up a new journal that will inspire you to start and continue working on your resolutions all year! Studies have shown that just 15-20 minutes of journaling daily opens up your brain and your creativity. http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/