We all know the story. You make a New Year’s resolution, and it starts off going great. A week or two in, though, you start to crack. The dream of a better you crumbles to the ground, and you return to the old, daily habits of last year as you live out your own personal version of Groundhog Day. Need a way to power through and make your New Year’s resolutions stick? We’ve got ten!
1. Know Why You Want To Change
Often we want to make changes in our lives without knowing why we want to make those changes. When you make a New Year’s resolution, think about your intentions. Are you setting goals that you want to achieve, or are you trying to become what others expect you to be? Take time to journal and think to figure out what changes you want to make for yourself and why you want to make them. This will help motivate you!
2. Focus On One Thing
Making too many resolutions can cause frustration. If you try to change multiple things about yourself simultaneously, your life could be a constant struggle. Imagine trying to become a vegetarian, start working out regularly, and begin waking up early all at the same time. Every part of your life would take extra will power to develop these habits! If you focus on changing one thing about yourself at a time, however, you give yourself a better chance of succeeding.
3. Plan It Out
Winging your way through a resolution is bound to lead to disappointment. Careful planning will increase the chances of lasting change. Take the time to think over your New Year’s resolution, and create an action plan. If you want to be healthier, how will you make that happen? What will you change about your eating habits? When will you exercise? What will you do for exercise? How will you measure your progress?
4. One Step At A Time
Big changes normally come by taking many small steps. In your planning, split your goal into smaller goals, and split those goals into smaller steps. Then, focus on one step at a time. Losing 60 pounds seems like an unattainable goal, but losing five pounds in a month seems possible. Losing the five pounds seems even more doable when it’s broken down into the individual steps, such as exercising twice a week and cutting out sugary drinks. Focus on the small changes to reach your big goals!
5. Don’t Go It Alone
Accountability is a paramount part of change. You are more likely to keep your resolution if someone else is checking up on you or (better yet) doing it with you. Find someone that you know and trust to keep you accountable. Alternatively, tell everyone around you about the changes you are making, so that you have more external pressure to keep your resolutions. However it happens, the important thing is to have someone holding you accountable.
6. Keep Your Eye On The Prize
From the first step to the last, remember your end goal. Suppose your resolution is to travel to Europe, and you’ve planned out how much money you need to save each week to make that possible. Whenever you’re tempted to make an unnecessary purchase, think about walking the streets of Paris, London, and Rome. Imagine yourself sitting in a gondola, meandering through the waters of Venice. This will be powerful motivation!
7. Write Your Goal Down
The evidence shows that writing down goals helps us to achieve them. Get out some paper and a pen, and write your resolution. Better yet, hang up the resolution where you will see it every day—above your door, in your mirror, next to your bed, etc. Wherever you put it, this will constantly remind you of the change you want to make and help motivate you to make that change.
8. Use Old Habits
Habits are hard to break, so try to attach your new habit to an old one! Do you want to start drinking more water? Put a water bottle next to your car keys so you won’t forget to bring it to work. Do you want to read more? Put a book on your couch so that when you get home from work and plop down to relax, the book is right there waiting for you. They say that old habits die hard; use that to your advantage.
9. Don’t Stress
When we experience stress, we tend to return to old habits. If you normally stress eat and your resolution is to have a healthier diet, then stressful circumstances will make you want to start stress eating again. We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control our response to them. Take time in your day to de-stress, whether that means journaling, physical activity, or something else. It will help you retain the will power to keep your resolutions.
10. Look Forward
Almost inevitably, you will not be perfect in keeping your New Year’s resolution. When you slip up, forgive yourself. If you’re trying to go to bed at the same time every night and end up staying awake too long one night, don’t quit on your entire goal. Keep looking forward, and go to bed on time the next night. Whatever your resolution is, always look forward and make the next decision the right decision. Messing up once, twice, or any number of times does not destroy your resolution.