We always have good intentions when making New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of a new year, but there is just something about those resolutions that causes us to lose steam about two weeks in. If you’re tired of seeing your New Year’s resolutions fade into mere wishes shortly after the new year begins, here are some tips for setting yourself up for New Year’s resolution success!
Make the right resolution.
First, you want to make the right type of resolution. Making one resolution is best, rather than focusing your efforts on multiple resolutions at once. Your resolution should be something that you want to accomplish for yourself—not for family, friends, or a significant other. It should also be realistic; setting a goal like “I will stop eating unhealthy food” or “I will lose 50 pounds immediately” isn’t likely to be effective. Be sure to have a time frame in mind as well; otherwise, how will you know whether or not you have accomplished your goal? Choose a resolution that you know will challenge you but that you will also be able to accomplish with the right amount of diligence.
You should already have a plan in mind for accomplishing your resolution by the time the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. Write out your resolution and how you plan to accomplish it at some point during the month of December. Outline the small steps you will take within a specified time frame in order to achieve your goal at the end of that time frame. These small steps should involve making only one change at a time. Writing out a calendar that includes these small steps isn’t a bad idea, either.
Seek resolution keeping “boosters.”
As you plan out how you are going to keep your New Year’s resolutions, seek out things that will help you accomplish your goals. If your goal is to remember to take your vitamins every day, for example, you might set up a monthly grocery delivery that will automatically deliver a new jar of vitamins to your home every month. If your goal is to lose weight, you might sign up for a marathon and print out your training calendar, making that calendar a key part of your resolution keeping outline. Or if you want to read a new book every month, you might start a book club where friends will help keep you on track with your reading. Look for things that will hold you accountable for keeping your resolution.
Talk about it.
Talking about your resolution with others is another great resolution keeping “booster.” Talk about your resolution, and how you plan on achieving it, to truly realize your resolution. You can even ask your friends to join in with you on your resolution, or ask them to check in with you on, say, a weekly basis to see how you are doing with your resolution.
Have a means for tracking your progress.
Maybe your resolution is to lose ten pounds be eating a certain combination of wholesome foods within a two month time frame. Or maybe your resolution is to add $300 to your savings account by the end of March. Outline how you will track your progress, and be sure that your are tracking your progress often from the beginning. It’s better to know early on that you aren’t doing quite enough to meet your goals and to tweak your methods accordingly, rather than finding out later than you’re going to have to change your behavior drastically in order to meet your goals. People who diligently track their progress are much more likely to achieve their resolutions.
Celebrate your successes.
As this article mentions, celebrating your successes is key to reaching your goals. This is another reason that laying out small steps for your resolution is so important—it gives you an opportunity to celebrate successes along the way. No, you shouldn’t reward yourself with a giant bowl of ice cream after a week of sticking to your runs, but you can treat yourself to something like a movie outing with a friend or a new workout top.
Don’t beat yourself up.
Most who make New Year’s resolutions are destined to fall short at one point or another. What will make the difference is how you deal with getting off track. Don’t beat yourself up when you fall short one day; rather, pick yourself back up and try again the next day. It’s never too late in the day to start the day over, and tomorrow is a new day altogether. You haven’t failed until you’ve stopped trying.
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