This Might Be the Best Way to Actually Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Lauren Donahue does a series of workouts as part of her fit lifestyle in Tampa, Fla
Lauren Donahue does a series of workouts as part of her fit lifestyle in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 22, 2017. Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

It’s that time of year.

It’s time for most of us to make New Year’s resolutions, vowing to better ourselves in some way.

  • I’m going to quit smoking.
  • I will spend less money on stupid crap.
  • I will learn a new skill.
  • I will travel more.
  • I will stop drinking so many tequila shots.

But more than any of those other options, people are making this resolution: I’m going to lose some weight.

Nearly 70% of people making New Year’s resolutions said they were resolving to lose weight or to generally stay fit and healthy, according to a 2015 survey by Nielsen,  a global market research firm.

The next most popular resolutions were “enjoy life to the fullest” at 28% and “spend less, save more” at 25%.

Most of Us Won’t Beat the Odds — But Some Will!

Yup, everybody wants to lose a little weight. Unfortunately, the brutal fact is most of us fail to keep our New Year’s resolutions.

I know, I know — bummer. I’m not even sugarcoating it a little here. Sorry.

The odds are stacked against you. Approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February, reports U.S. News.

Hey, now wait just a minute here! So why do those other 20% succeed at it? Who gave those people permission to succeed like that, huh? Look at them, there they go, just succeeding all over the place.

How do their minds work? What’s their bloody secret, anyway?

Well, the American Psychological Association has some thoughts about that.

Start Small and Set Realistic Goals

“It’s important to remember the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes,” says the American Psychological Association.

Instead, “it is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes.”

“Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on Jan. 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” Lynn Bufka, Ph.D. told the APA. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”

To improve your odds, the APA offers these tips:

  • Start small. Make resolutions you think you can keep. For example, schedule three days a week at the gym instead of seven.  
  • Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. So eliminating them also requires time.
  • Talk about it. Share your experiences with family and friends, or consider joining a support group, such as a workout class at your gym.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. “Perfection is unattainable,” it says.
  • Ask for support. Accepting help from others strengthens your resilience and your ability to manage the stress your resolution can cause.

Keep Your Resolution by Betting on Yourself

If you’re ready to get serious about shedding some pounds, you’re going to need motivation. We’re betting cold, hard cash would do the trick.

Consider making a bet with a company called HealthyWage, which will pay you to accomplish your weight-loss goals. Enter how much weight you’d like to lose (10 to 150 pounds) in its calculator, how long you’ll take (six to 18 months) and how much you want to bet ($20 to $150 per month).

Each month, you pay your promised amount into the program. In return, HealthyWage provides support through expert advice and weight-tracking tools.

If you stick to your goal and lose the weight you say you’re going to, the company pays you. It’s as simple as that.

You start and end your challenge with a video-recorded weigh-in to demonstrate your weight loss. Throughout the challenge, you also log weekly weigh-ins, but not on video. These help ensure you’re losing the weight in a healthy way, not through extreme measures.

If you don’t hit your goal, your money goes to support HealthyWage, including prizes for others who achieve their goals.

Teresa Suarez lost 68 pounds — and made over $2,400. She bet $125 per month she would lose 60 pounds in six months. When that final weigh-in confirmed her success, Teresa won $2,415.28.

Depending on how much you have to lose, how long you give yourself to do it and how much money you put on the table, you can win up to $10,000 with HealthyWage. You can play with the calculator until you get your goal and prize just right.

It’s 2018, people. It’s a whole new year.

It’s now or never.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He, too, would like to lose some weight.

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