According to a recent survey, only 32 percent of people said they WERE NOT planning on making New Year’s resolutions. Are you one of them, my fellow empty nester?

2018 is a new year. And each year presents us with a psychological new ‘start’. As an empty nester (or almost empty nester), you could also be familiar with this feeling of a new start. A change in life, whether it is a new year or a new life phase without children in the house, provides a great opportunity to redefine yourself and your life.

It might be to your advantage to use the New Year as a catalyst for change. Let’s explore what seem to be the biggest changes that people are trying to achieve with their new year’s resolutions.

According to recent surveys, there are several goals that tend to rise above the rest. These top goals include:

  • Eating better and exercising more
  • Spending less money
  • Better self care (like sleep)

New Year's Resolutions

Women are the Better Goal Setters

And the numbers indicate that these goals are being set more by women than men. Women show more intent to improve themselves than men.

Come on, guys!?! Where is your motivation? Is this possibly why census numbers show that women live longer? Are women just motivated to ‘go that extra mile’?

We want to hear from the guys out there.

How to Improve Your Chance of Success with Your Goals

1. Break Your Goal into Manageable Steps

The most often quoted recommendation for goal achievement is to approach the goal in ‘phases’ or ‘steps’. No one starts a running program by trying to complete a marathon. It would be wise to start with smaller incremental runs, that increases in length and intensity over time.

The same would be true of any new goal or habit – especially for an empty nester who has formed many habits for a different lifestyle in the past.

Most people lose interest in their new year’s resolutions because they try to change too much, too fast. Look at any new year’s resolution from an annual perspective. Divide it up into 12 steps and make the steps reasonable.

Do you want to lose 20 lbs in 2018? That can seem imposing too many. But, if the goal became 1.66 lbs per month, it can become a lot less scary.

Even if you want to lose those 20 lbs by the beach season, it’s more realistic to look at the goal over six months rather than in 1-2 months.

The bottom line, increase your chance of success with your resolutions by breaking the goal into manageable steps.

2. 30 Days to a New Habit

Jerry Seinfeld was once asked by a rising comic if he had any advice for her. He said that the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes. And the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But, he also revealed an interesting motivation technique that is now referred to as the “Seinfeld Method’.

He described his method thus – He put a big calendar on the wall. And every day that he wrote jokes, he would put a big X on that day on the calendar. He said, “After a few days you’ll have a chain (of red x’s). Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

This daily action (whether small or big) builds habits over time. When the action becomes a habit, it becomes a permanent part of your life.

What is your resolution for 2018? Exercise, eating better, writing? Whatever it is, set up a calendar to convert your goal into a habit, and that habit into a life transformation.

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Pick Your Goal – But Stick with it

So, your personal motivation may not be one of these top goals, listed at the top of the article. Here is a complete list of goals from the survey. Can you find one or more that you can get motivated by in 2018? If so, set yourself up with small, incremental steps that you can repeat over and over until it becomes a life-changing habit. Let’s go, empty nester!

Full Survey List of Goals for 2018

  • Eat better — 37 percent
  • Exercise more — 37 percent
  • Spend less money — 37 percent
  • Self-care (e.g. getting more sleep) — 24 percent
  • Read more books —18 percent
  • Learn a new skill — 15 percent
  • Get a new job — 14 percent
  • Make new friends — 13 percent
  • New hobby — 13 percent
  • Focus more on appearance — 12 percent
  • Focus on relationship — 12 percent
  • Cut down on cigarettes/alcohol — 9 percent
  • Go on more dates — 7 percent
  • Focus less on appearance — 3 percent

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