Research shows that millions of Americans made at least one New Year’s Resolution this year – but that the real trouble is in sticking to it. According to University of Scranton psychology professor John Norcross, PhD. , the three leading resolutions are to lose weight, quit smoking, or exercise regularly. The problem is, less than thirty percent of the people that make a resolution are still working toward their goal thirty days later.
Resolution-makers try everything – going cold turkey with cigarettes, buying expensive gym memberships, even rewarding themselves with bribes for making it through a week without ice cream. Unfortunately, these methods fail more often than they succeed. However, thousands of people are finding that using an online diary, or blog, can help them to stick with their resolutions and succeed in reaching their goals.
A blog can help with your New Year’s resolution in many ways. To start, use your blog to write down exactly what your resolution is, and what the goals are that you hope to achieve. Plan out a timetable for reaching your goals, and put it in writing in your online diary. For instance, if your resolution is to quit smoking, start a journal today, with the first entry stating your goal and how long you expect to have to work to reach it. This clearly defines what your expectations are. More importantly, it records a concrete timeframe for what you are trying to accomplish – making it less likely that you will keep pushing your goal date back week after week.
As you work toward your goal, use your blog to keep track of your progress. Each day, make an entry that tells what your successes or failures for that day were. If your resolution is to lose weight, include your weight in your daily diary entry, so you can clearly see what sort of progress you are making. This is particularly useful if you are working towards a long-term goal over several months, since you can check back through your blog to monitor your progress. Changes that seem very small from one day to the next will take on a larger significance when you see them happening over many days and weeks in your blog.
If you fall off the resolution wagon one day, be sure to record that as well. A blog can be great for analyzing what went wrong on a particular day, by helping you see what else may have caused the problem. For instance, if your goal is to stop smoking, you may notice in your diary that you are still sneaking cigarettes every Tuesday, but only after the weekly staff meeting with your boss. Identifying the cause of your stress may help you to avoid or eliminate the problem, and get back on track with your resolution.
Finally, use your blog as a support mechanism. Most online diary communities allow other members to leave notes to the blog writer – which is a great way to receive support and encouragement from other people who are working toward a similar goal. A few friendly words from somebody else who is trying to exercise three times a week can go a long way towards getting you in the gym tomorrow. As you share your successes or failures with others, you may be surprised by the amount of advice and positive reinforcement you receive from the people who read your blog.
By providing a tool for recording your goals, tracking your progress, and gathering personal support, a blog can be invaluable in helping you stick to your New Year’s resolution. If you don’t already have a blog, check out one of dozens of online diary sites – most of them are free, easy to use, and will provide you with everything you need to keep your own resolution diary.
Bruce Ableson is the founder and publisher of Open Diary , the original online diary community.