Whether you call them resolutions or goals, most people begin a new year determined to improve at least one aspect of their lives. Saving money, exercising more and eating a healthier diet are among the most common objectives come January, but these aren’t the only targets.
Many prefer to work on character traits as well, like being kinder, having a more positive outlook or spending more quality time with their kids. Whatever you decide to aim for, here are some tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions:
Make Them Attainable
Sometimes we really, really want something but aren’t being fully honest with ourselves about our ability to achieve what we want. It’s okay to set lofty goals with long-term dates, but if you don’t break them down into smaller, more manageable goals, it’s much easier to let the entire target slide out of focus.
Smaller, more immediate objectives are much easier to visualize and conquer. So if your big goal is to save $1,500 in a year, you could break that into $375 increments every three months, or even $125 every month.
Make a Written New Year’s Resolution Plan
Record all your resolutions, but also write down a clear plan for how you are going to achieve them. Schedule tasks into your daily calendar and treat those deliverables with the same respect you would a meeting with your boss or a date night with your partner. Your goals deserve your attention too! Review your plan often, at least weekly, and chart your successes and challenges so you know what might be standing in your way, but also what works best for you.
Limit Your Ambition
While this sounds counter-intuitive for life success, it’s rarely possible to achieve a list of ten resolutions. Despite your passion for self-improvement, it’s unlikely you’ll become a fantastic cook, fluent in a new language, an expert bass guitar player and marathon runner in 365 days.
Try to pick one or two of your goals and keep them front and centre to begin. Once you feel you’re in a good groove of change toward those primary resolutions, you can always add another later on. Starting out trying to make more than a couple of big transformations to your life is overwhelming and a recipe for failure, so be realistic and remain focused on the resolutions you really want first.
Don’t do it Alone
Tell the world about your resolutions. This serves two purposes: one, to keep you on track because you want to do what you’ve told everyone you’re going to do, but more importantly, it will draw in your support team. Sticking to New Year’s resolutions is hard, so having support can make a huge difference. Join like-minded social media or live groups and ask friends and family to support you in specific ways, like telling your mom please don’t make your favourite double fudge cheesecake when you come for dinner if you’re trying to eat less sugar. Use all the resources available as glue to get those New Year’s resolutions to stick!
If you slip up on the path to accomplishing your goals, it’s not the death of your resolutions. It just means you’re human. Countless people fail at their resolutions because they stop completely if they experience a minor setback. If you don’t meditate for a week, eat one meal of fast food, or splurge on a big purchase and suddenly abandon the entire goal in an avalanche of self-doubt and feelings of failure, your resolutions will never stick. Forgive your slip-up and acknowledge that the path to realizing your goals is not always straightforward with no curves or forks in the road. Jump back on your journey and stick with it.
If you’ve broken down your resolutions into smaller chunks, don’t forget to reward yourself each time you complete one of those steps! Make it a reward big enough to count to keep you motivated. Don’t forget to broadcast your milestone to your support team! Positive reinforcements are the best incentive to stick to your New Year’s resolutions.