As soon as the confetti comes down at midnight on December 31st, cold reality hits. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is with your New Year’s resolution. And if you’re like most, you’ll probably wonder if you’ll really follow through with your good intentions for the new year.
But here’s the reality. Whether you keep or blow your New Year’s resolution has to do with things that go beyond willpower. It’s has to do with factors like the wording of the resolution to the way you handle slip-ups. Simple tricks can transform your resolution.
I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’m not a huge fan of resolutions. I like thinking of myself as being on a constant journey towards my best self. And so I’m not as attracted to the idea of setting one time of year for dramatic change.
But, in recent years, I’ve come to understand the power of a New Year’s resolution. The new year is a symbolic fresh start. And there’s something powerful about embracing this fresh start. And taking the opportunity to give yourself a new approach with something valuable in your own life.
So here are 5 tricks to keep your New Year’s resolution. If you set a goal this year, make it one you can actually achieve. And here are some of the tools you need to do just that.
Make it specific and easily attainable
Let’s say you you want to lose weight. Don’t state that you’re going to lose 30 pounds. There are elements of this outside your control. What happens if you hit a weight loss plateau to no fault of your own?
Instead, set yourself lifestyle changes that lead to health and weight loss. Set a goal to eat 3 servings of vegetables a day. Or set a goal of having only 5 grams of added sugar a day. These give you specific actions instead of overloading you with huge expectations.
Assess your starting point
Your New Year’s resolution will be easier to stick to if you factor in your starting point. Let’s say you want to get in shape. It’s a big leap to work out 6 days a week if you’re totally inactive now. And you’re likely to burnout a month or two into your resolution.
But instead, set the goal to workout 2 times a week. And then set a goal to reassess your workout schedule in 2 months. That way you can start with something appropriate for your starting point. And you can also set the intention to grow with your goal.
Set a reward system
I get that self-improvement should be a reward on its own. But let’s get real. Sometimes you just need something more. Rewards are super motivating.
So set a reward system. The reward can be anything from an hour or two to do whatever you want. Or maybe a morning to sleep in. Or perhaps you reward yourself with a weekend to order out as opposed to cook. Whatever reward you choose, make it good!, And preferably not a junk food treat.
Plan for the worst
No – I don’t want you to focus on the negative. But I do want you to be prepared for slip-ups. There will be days when things don’t go perfectly. And you may get quite a bit off track. But don’t let that be the reason you abandon your resolution.
Be realistic before you start. How will you face the challenges that will inevitably arise. Will you forgive yourself for not executing your goal perfectly? And how will you get yourself back on track? When you have a plan for the worst case scenario, that scenario is less likely to destroy you.
Get excited for the best
You’ve set a New Year’s resolution. But what excites you about this resolution? You want to be very clear about what you’re getting out of this. Eating healthy might not seem fun. But waking up every morning with tons of energy and less aches and pains is amazing.
So spend some time focusing on your resolution’s benefits. Perhaps write them down as a reference for when things get difficult. Constantly remind yourself why you’re doing this. Keeping yourself motivated is integral to your success.
And those are 5 tricks to keep your New Year’s resolution. Do you have a New Year’s resolution for this coming year? How are you planning to stick to your goal?
Denay DeGuzman says
I love your tips for keeping New Year resolutions. Planning for the worst and getting excited for the best is all part of preparing yourself for unexpected things that happen in life! We all start the year with the best intentions.
Amanda Yorton says
The only New Year’s Resolution that I ever make is to read (and finish) a new book each month! The first year, I read over 20 books which I felt excited about. But then the next year, I only read 6… SO this year, after I finish my Fitness Nutrition Certification, I will be back to my goal of reading a new book a month!
Kasey Ma says
I definitely am going to try and stick to my New Year’s Resolutions – this is a great help !
I usually feel the same way… not a huge resolution fan, because I’m just very goal oriented anyway. But I do love something about a fresh start at the same time.
Great ideas here on follow through! 🙂
Annemarie LeBlanc says
I don’t usually make resolutions because my biggest issue is consistency. What works for me is to chop up goals into tiny, achievable and reasonable chunks. That motivates me more than making one big goal/resolution to keep for the entire year.
That’s such a great idea to plan smaller and more attainable goals. I never thought of it like that before!
Isabella David Vintage
RoseMary Griffith says
Love this, “I like thinking of myself as being on a constant journey towards my best self.” What a great way to phrase it, Erica. And I’m with you. Although I like the turning over a new leaf on 1/1, the resolution thing doesn’t work for me. It’s an ever-continuing journey and as long as I’m keeping my eyes open about it, then I’m doing the best I can.
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, a KISS approach is best, I agree completely. 🙂