As I write this, we are one week into the new year. Most people made their resolutions days ago, but you may be already wondering what the trick is to keeping New Year’s Resolutions going beyond January.
At first you’re excited about achieving a goal. You go hard exercising, dieting or cutting your spending habits to save more money. These are all commendable, but can you sustain your actions?
From past experience I find it difficult to keep going to the gym for more than 3 months at a time and I usually break a diet within the first two weeks. It’s really hard to stick to your resolution. But there is hope. Follow these 5 simple tricks to give yourself a better chance at achieving your goals.
In January, about 40% of all Americans vow to change one thing or another about their lifestyle. It’s a great time to assess what you’d like to do better. We all love to tackle the year with a fresh challenge.
As you know, New Year’s resolutions usually fall under the following categories
- Weight loss
- Personal development
- Health and diet
- Stress management
- Focusing on personal relationships
But, if you fast forward 6 months later, 60% will have completely forgotten all about their resolutions.
However, carrying out your resolutions can be done. Here are the tips you need.
1. Define your Type of Motivation
Motivation is so important for keeping your New Year’s Resolutions. There are two types of motivation:
- Intrinsic – this means your motivation comes from inside. For example, you prefer jogging, going to the gym, or shopping by yourself because you like how you feel afterwards.
- Extrinsic – you’re pushed forward by actions outside your personal scope. In other words, you prefer working out with your friends, and work harder when there’s a reward system in place.
Once you figure out what your preferred motivation type is, then all you have to do is put yourself in situations that make you more excited to accomplish even more. You’ll know what feels right to you and what excites you. So first of all, sit down and think about your own preferred type of motivation. This will ensure you’re on the right track for keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.
2. Actions speak louder than results
Deciding on a goal for the New Year is always easier said than done. We know what we want the end goal to be.
You might want to lose 50 lbs and it’s easy to know what weight you need to get down to. But such a general resolution really doesn’t help anyone to achieve it.
It’s the steps you take to reach that goal that’s the tricky part. If you want to stick to your resolutions, it’s wise to break each step down into smaller goals, if possible, to make them more manageable. Aim for a certain amount of weight loss per week. Work out how much exercise you need to fit into certain days of the week. These are more achievable in the short term and will keep you on track in the long term.
Moreover, each time you achieve one step, reward yourself and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Positive reinforcement is crucial to help guide you as you push toward your goal and commit to your responsibilities. This is the way to ensure you’re keeping New Year’s Resolutions.
One way to keep everything in check is to make sure your actions are SMART
- Specific. Having a specific end result written down to prevent you from making excuses.
- Measurable. Evaluating your progress will give your motivation a boost every time.
- Achievable. You can set daily goals as a building block on the way to bigger goals.
- Relevant. Otherwise, if it’s not relevant, why bother? This will help you to stay focused.
- Time-bound. Goals need to have a defined end date so you can motivate yourself to achieve them.
3. Be honest with yourself – something is better than nothing
The more realistic your resolutions, the more likely you’ll see them through. If your goal for the New Year is to exercise more, then start small. Instead of planning a 5-day workout week with strenuous exercise included, go for 20 minutes a day then increase gradually.
You’ll find that, as with all goals, as soon as you start seeing what you’ve accomplished, you’ll be pumped to do even more.
However, it’s crucial that you stay away from the “all-or-nothing” approach
Doing something, even if it’s a small piece of what you’d originally planned, is much better and more productive than doing nothing at all.
So many people go hard at the beginning of January to achieve their goals. No one can sustain this. By being realistic, you’ve more chance of keeping your New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a matter of common sense. But in the excitement of a big idea at the beginning of the year you may get carried away and forget to be realistic.
Moreover, it’s equally important to not have too many resolutions up in the air at once. This is a common mistake. Just because it’s the first of January, it isn’t a time for miracles. You can’t take on too much and expect to meet your goals.
Make a list, prioritize them, and go from there. Once you feel the first one’s in the bag, go for the second, and so on. Focusing on one goal at a time will channel your energy and efforts there, helping you reach your target faster. Perhaps you want to plan ahead. One goal for each month or each quarter of the year. Write it down so you remember what you’re goals are.
4. Think things through and anticipate
Having a positive mindset is key when progressing towards your goals, but let’s be honest; every plan is bound for failure if you’re not careful. Be smart and anticipate the obstacles so that when they do appear, you’ll be prepared.
For example, if you get bored when you exercise, choose upbeat workout music that’ll get you revved up. Or you can workout at home, as you catch up on your favorite TV shows. If your motivation method is extrinsic, go to the gym with a friend. The idea is to nip it in the bud before it becomes stronger than your willpower so that you can surmount any obstacle that comes between you and your goal.
If you have sweet treats in the kitchen and you’re trying to lose weight, you’re tempting failure (or it might be those potato chips you need to get rid of!). Plan ahead and get rid of the temptations from your pantry or refrigerator.
And if you’re trying to save money, don’t browse online stores where you usually buy items. Remove the temptation. Find another hobby to replace your shopping habit. Instead of getting carried away buying things online why not start your own blog sharing tips about how you’re saving money every day.
5. Be accountable for your actions
Accountability means you’re taking responsibility for the choices you’re making. This may seem easy to do at work when you have a deadline and a boss reinforcing it. It may not seem as easy when you’re home alone and skip out on cooking a healthy meal, and order take-out instead.
It’s also easy to lose track of how many days you’ve missed going to the gym. There’s always an excuse. The kids needed me, I had to pick up the groceries, I need to buy new gym shoes. Whatever, your excuse is, move beyond it. Start being accountable as a way of keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.
Choose a way to recognize your actions
You can enlist the help of a friend or join a support group. When you know you’ve made a certain commitment to someone it changes your thought process. Even if it’s simply posting a photo of your home-cooked meal on social media. Alternatively, you can hang a calendar on your wall with progress notes so you can keep tabs on how far you’ve gotten and what still lies ahead. This is a great way to know you’re keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.
Try color coding a calendar to really highlight what you’re achieved and what you need to do.
If you like using spreadsheets, you can plot your progress using a spreadsheet and a chart and print it out to stick on the wall.
Keeping your New Year’s resolution can seem scary at first. However, with these 5 steps, you can do anything you put your mind to. Moreover, once you accomplish your first resolution, you’ll find that it’s not only beneficial, it’s fun as well.
By feeling a sense of achievement, you’ll find it easier to keep going. This is something you need to experience to really appreciate. All of the 5 simple tricks above help to ensure you’re keeping New Year’s Resolutions while enjoying what you’re doing. Remember, if you stop enjoying it, you’ll stop taking action.
Even if you don’t enjoy every part of the sacrifices you may be making to achieve your end goal, you can find ways to enjoy the process. These tips help at each step of the way. Go through each of the 5 simple tricks above but make sure you personalize them to suit your own goals.
Get yourself a spiral notebook and write down your own resolutions and how you’re going to achieve them using each of the 5 simple tricks above. By writing it down you’re committing to a plan that’s ongoing. You could also print it out and stick it on the wall or the bathroom mirror so you see it every morning. If you’re a busy mom with kids sometimes those few minutes in the bathroom are the only quiet time in your day!
Do whatever it takes to remind yourself about your goals for the year ahead. By keeping New Year’s Resolutions you’re helping yourself and those around you. When you achieve your goals you’re doing it for yourself and your family. If you improve your health, you’re more available for your kids. If you’re spending is out of control and you can you can save money, it often reduces stress in your relationship. And if you’re eating healthy, it usually means everyone in your household is eating healthier.
You’ll feel good achieving your goals and there’s another bonus. You become a better role model for your kids. Just imagine if we’d all learned how to follow through on our goals when we were children. Now that’s a good life skill to have.