How to Stick with Your New Year’s Resolutions
2020. It’s not just the start of a new year but of an entire decade. An old chapter of our lives is closing and a new one is just beginning. This is a great time to set goals for yourself and make this year your best one yet. If you’ve tried making New Year’s resolutions in the past and have failed, try these tips designed to help you stick to your goals and succeed in 2020.
One of the main reasons people don’t stick to their resolutions is because they’re unrealistic to begin with. If you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle for years, and then you set a goal to run a marathon in February, there’s a high likelihood that you are not going to succeed because you’ve set yourself up for failure. Instead, start with a goal that will take effort but is attainable. You probably won’t go from not reading at all to reading an hour every night, but you could try for 3 new books this year. Set yourself up for success. Don’t worry about not doing enough. Once you reach your goal you can always set another one.
Another aspect of being realistic is realizing how many changes you can actually make at once. You are more likely to keep 3 resolutions than you are to keep 15. The fewer you choose, the easier they will be to focus on during the year. Where your focus is your success will be also. Consider making one resolution that you really want to achieve. If you are feeling ambitious, try 3. Definitely don’t go over 5 if you want to ensure you stick with them all.
Another big resolution killer is setting goals that are too generalized. With these types of resolutions, you aren’t actually stating a behavior to change. You’re just stating a result you’d like. Instead of “lose weight,” one of the most popular resolutions each year, try “exercise 3 times per week and eat clean 5 days per week.” See the difference? One of those focuses on a result, while the other one actually helps you get that result. Instead of “Be a better friend” try something that can make that happen like “Send an encouraging text to one of my friends every day”. Instead of “Save money,” try working to “Put $20 into savings every week.” Setting concrete goals will make it easier to stick with your resolutions because it will be easy to identify if you are actually following through or not.
Have a Plan
You’ve heard it said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Well, it’s true. To quote another cliche, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Wanting something to happen is different from making it happen and to make it happen you have to have a plan. For instance, if your goal is to exercise 3 times per week and eat clean on weekdays, that takes planning. You need to schedule times to exercise. If you wait around for time to magically appear, it’s not going to happen. You also need to plan your meals. How many times have you had good intentions but ran out of time to cook and decided to just get drive-thru? That happens because of a failure to plan. Create a plan for how you will achieve your New Year’s resolution and you are more likely to stick with it.
Especially if you have more than one resolution, it can be difficult to remember to do something until it becomes a habit. That’s why reminders are important. Your reminder can be as simple as a post-it note on your bathroom mirror. Setting reminders on your phone is a great idea as well. If your phone alerts you to drink a glass of water every hour, you’ll remember to do it. If you are trying to cut out a bad habit or start a healthy habit, you could try an app like Way of Life. Way of Life is a habit tracker that makes you mindful of how you’re spending your time. Eventually, your new habits will become second nature, but until that happens, reminders will be a super valuable tool.
When you share your goals with others, you are more likely to stick with them. There’s something about saying something to another person that makes it more established in our own mind. If you then give that person permission to hold you accountable by checking up on you and encouraging you in your goal, you up your chances of success even more.
Track Your Progress
One trap many fall into is assuming that they are meeting their goal when they really are not. To know if you are progressing, you have to track your progress. If your goal is to read 3 books this year, you have to keep up with how many you’ve read so far so you know if you are achieving your goal or not. If your goal is to drink 8 glasses of water each day but you don’t actually count the glasses you drink, you could only be getting 5 but think you’re on track. It’s important to track your progress so you can make necessary adjustments to reach your goal.
Don’t Give Up
Lastly, the best way to stick to your New Year’s resolutions is to not give up when you hit a bump in the road. If your goal was to exercise 3 times per week and you haven’t exercised for the last 3 weeks, recommit yourself to the goal and try again. It’s easy to throw your hands up in the air and give up, but if you do the same thing you’ve always done, you’ll get the same thing you’ve always gotten. 3 weeks may feel like a defeat but, in reality, 3 weeks isn’t going to make or break your year. If you get to February and you haven’t exercised one time, you still have 11 months to achieve your goal. If you get to May and realize you haven’t read one book yet, don’t give up! You can start good habits at any time.
You Can Do It
This is your year. You have everything you need to accomplish your goals. Use these tips to set yourself up for success in 2020. You can do it!