We’ve all done it. Every January, we think about or even write and plan out our New Year’s resolutions. Things we want to change, be better at, or accomplish during this next year. Our motivation to change and actually accomplish our resolutions is typically pretty high in the beginning of the month and into the first of the year—after all, that’s why we bother making a resolution in the first place! But as life is busy and changes can be difficult, many, if not most, people are unable to maintain the enthusiasm and motivation needed to achieve their resolutions.
The good news is that if you have resolutions you‘ve made that you haven’t accomplished, you’re not alone. We have a fresh new year in front of us to set manageable, realistic, and attainable goals that will allow us to be successful in reaching those resolutions! Here we will share some tips to help you truly be able to cross off those resolutions you made for yourself!
1. First, the resolution needs to be something that you truly, deeply, really want. As life gets busy and motivation dwindles, having a truly deep desire is what is going to fuel you to keep at it when you don’t necessarily feel like it. Having a resolution that is something you really want is more likely to be something you’re willing to fight for and work hard for, rather than a resolution that you should want.
2. Put some thought into your resolutions. A true resolution takes some thought and care rather than a simple, on-a-whim sort of idea. Resolutions that have meaning or that evoke strong emotions are likely to be more successful, but taking the time to consider and think about what resolutions truly matter most to you will be worth the time it takes to do so.
3. Make your resolutions manageable, realistic, and attainable. One to three resolutions at most is plenty if you want to truly be successful in reaching your goals. If you have too many resolutions, especially if they are big ones, your attention is going to be too scattered and you’re not going to be able to give the focus and attention necessary for success to all of the resolutions. Focus on just a single or a couple realistic resolutions at a time and give your full attention and energy to them.
4. It’s also important to be specific about your resolutions. Resolutions that are too broad can be difficult to reach, as there isn’t a clear path. This is where taking the time to think it out is important. Instead of just saying that you’re going to exercise more, for example, quantify and qualify what that actually means to you. Instead say, “I’m going to exercise Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a minimum of thirty minutes,” or something similar to this. Be meaningful and deliberate about your resolutions; make it a plan not just a wish!
5. Do what you can and plan and prepare to set yourself up for success. Depending on what the resolution is, this might mean different things. If it’s a financial resolution, set up a system of automatically putting money into a savings account each month, or something along those lines that is automatically done that will help you accomplish your resolution. Having systems in place that more or less force you to stick to it helps you be successful.
6. In line with the thought that goes into your resolutions, take it one step farther. Put your thoughts down on paper. Take these thoughts and put them into action by making a plan. People that have a clear and specific plan are much more likely to be successful than those who don’t. Create small and maintainable steps that will lead you to your goal. Remember that you aren’t trying to accomplish your New Year’s resolutions in one day, so make your plan attainable and realistic by making a plan that has progressive baby steps to keep you from becoming overwhelmed and less likely to stick with it.
7. Share it with others! People who write down and share their resolutions with family or friends are more likely to be successful as not, since there is a level of accountability involved. Once people know of your goals and resolutions, it’s harder to back out as there is a new level of commitment once the resolution has been shared! It is especially helpful if these people are actively involved in helping you reach your goals!
8. Make it visual. Once you have written down your resolutions, put them in a place where you can see and review them often. This helps you to be reminded often of the things you want to do this year. When you see your written resolutions, visualize what it will be like and what it will feel like when you accomplish that resolution. Let the thought of that feeling drive and motivate you!
9. Give yourself rewards! Whether it’s one big reward at the end of the year if you reach your resolution, or smaller rewards along the way for accomplishments, having something to help motivate you and inspire you along the way is helpful to you in remembering your resolution and to enjoying the process of reaching it!
10. Understand that true change is going to need to happen if you want to reach your goals. Change is difficult, but it’s necessary if we don’t want to stay where we are. This is where the small and realistic baby steps come in, one step at a time towards changing habits makes them more likely to be changed! Make sure to not put yourself in situations of temptation!
Always remind yourself that perfection is not the goal. Remember that change is a process and that you’re not going to be perfect and you’re not going to achieve your resolution easily or quickly. Don’t get discouraged if you make a mistake—this is part of the process! Stick with it and remember why you started; even small progress is progress!