You’ve made your list of New Year’s resolutions. Now what? As you go over your list, you may feel overwhelmed by the daunting tasks you’ve assigned to yourself. You may also feel like you’re doomed from the start if you see some of the same resolutions you’ve (unsuccessfully) tried over the past several years.
It’s easy to feel instantly discouraged by your New Year’s resolution list. However, if you are willing to change the way you approach these goals for the new year, chances are you’ll find success.
1. Set Realistic, Defined Goals
Many people set ambiguous or unrealistic resolutions for the new year. Unfortunately, this sets you up for failure from the start. By resolving to “lose weight” or “eat better,” you don’t give yourself the scaffolding needed to reach these goals because there’s no clear-cut goal to begin with. Inversely, if you set the bar too high and vow to “lose 100 pounds” or “exercise every single day,” then you will quickly experience frustration and give up.
Instead, you should set specific goals that you can realistically complete.
When you establish these goals, decide what’s realistic, measurable, and timely. You can use the SMART goal method to do this, or set a goal that has a clear outcome (ex. “I want to be in shape enough to run a half-marathon by the end of the year.”). Regardless of how you approach it, easily defined goals will help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
2. Make a Plan
Setting a resolution is only the first step in your journey. If you want to make these goals a reality, you also need a clearly defined plan for reaching your goal. Without a plan, you are setting yourself up for failure.
To write a plan, first, think about your overarching resolution. Then, think about everything you’ll need to do to reach that end goal. After establishing this list of action steps, think about all of the obstacles or challenges that may interfere with your goal and write those down. Finally, determine how you might overcome these obstacles or what will help you face them.
Once you’ve clearly defined your action plan and identified possible pitfalls, you will be much more prepared to tackle your resolution.
3. Divide It Into Smaller Steps
Now that you have a clearly defined resolution and a basic plan in place, it’s time to start making strides toward achieving your new year’s resolution. However, many people make the mistake of going full-steam ahead starting on January 1st and run out of steam by February. By March, they give up entirely and abandon those resolutions.
If you don’t want to burn out early, you must divide your resolution into small, bite-size steps and spread the goal out over time. This also helps you find success along the way instead of pushing yourself to the end goal.
Say you have set a resolution to run a half marathon by the end of the year. Instead of hitting the gym every single day in January, try setting a smaller goal of exercising for 20 minutes, twice per week. Then, gradually increase the amount of time and frequency of your workouts each month.
When you set smaller steps, you can check off each goal and tackle the next bite-size piece of your resolution. This will help you feel successful and encourage you to continue your journey toward reaching your resolution.
4. Tell Your Friends and Family
People are sometimes embarrassed to admit their New Year’s resolution and choose to keep it hidden from friends and family. However, reaching out to others and having accountability partners can help you successfully achieve your resolutions.
You can explain your goals to a few close friends or family members and ask them if they are willing to help you stay on track. If you find people working towards similar goals, you can even establish weekly check-ins to help keep each other accountable. Any support or accountability can help you stay on track.
5. Track Your Progress
A lot of people have a hard time sticking to their new year’s resolutions because they can’t see the progress they’ve made along the way. However, if you track your progress along the way, you can look back and see how far you’ve come.
One way to do this is through a resolution journal. You can write daily or weekly updates, include your motivation to keep going and address any setbacks you encountered along the way. If you aren’t keen on writing, you can track this progress through a bullet journal or simply design a single-page template on a program like Canva that you can print and complete.
6. Learn From Your Setbacks
Setbacks are a natural part of any journey, especially when you are trying to break habits or develop new ones. Many people look at setbacks as a sign that they should stop pursuing their resolution because they’ve failed, but that isn’t the case at all. Instead, you should use these setbacks as an opportunity to learn.
When you make a mistake or experience a setback, ask yourself what contributed to it. Then, think about how you can manage a similar situation differently next time. You can even write all of this down wherever you are tracking your progress.
You shouldn’t beat yourself up for any minor setbacks. The important thing is that you keep moving forward after these mistakes.
7. Celebrate Your Successes
Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself for your hard work. If you’ve managed to make it to the gym thrice a month, treat yourself to a movie or dinner at a restaurant.
Your rewards are entirely personal. They should drive you to keep going and serve as well-deserved breaks.
Tip: Do you want to work on becoming more talkative in the New Year? Use these tips on how to socialize better to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many New Year's Resolutions should I make?
Many people pursue more than one resolution in a year. However, you should never set more goals than you can handle, so start with just a few and see what happens.
What are the most common New Year's resolutions?
Everyone has their own goals going into the new year. However, some common resolutions include healthy eating, weight loss, organizing the home, and saving money.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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