Every year, we pull out a pen and a piece of paper and start to write down our resolutions. Whether we want to lose weight, travel more often or save for a new house, January 1st seems like the start of another chapter. But by the time spring rolls around, many of us have already fallen off track. So, how do we make sure we accomplish everything we set out to do? Here are 10 tips and tricks that’ll help you stick with your plans all year long.
Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?
There are many reasons only 12% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Either they start too big, don’t plan or aren’t specific enough. In some cases, if individuals don’t see immediate results, they feel disheartened and are less likely to continue.
Also, many don’t want to pursue goals on their own. Support systems are critical. Another issue is that of a mental block. If someone wants to order a salad to eat healthier but dreads the thought of vegetables, they’ll have a difficult time. Luckily, there are a few ways we can approach these goals with more success.
1. Be More Realistic
Many of us are a little too ambitious. It creates a sense of disappointment and discouragement when we don’t get to the gym every day or fall short of how much we need to pay off a loan. Some things are impossible to accomplish without a lot of preparation. Make sure your goal isn’t too much of a reach — start small, then as you work your way through the year, adjust as necessary.
2. Have Some Confidence
Often, we write down resolutions that we desperately want to achieve but are too scared to do so. Whether this is regarding our spirituality or a desire to make a career change, it’s necessary to muster up some confidence. Sometimes, we sabotage ourselves because we don’t think we deserve what we’re after. A head full of self-doubt won’t get you anywhere.
Related Content: 5 Ways Confidence Improves Your Life
3. Narrow It Down
If your resolution is too broad, like “take a road trip,” it’ll be a lot harder to figure out how to obtain it. So, write down what you want and then try to narrow it down. A concrete goal, such as “take a road trip to the Grand Canyon in July,” is much easier to plan for. It’s even better if you can nail down specific dates and see if other people can come along.
Again, the more you can do to emphasize the details, the better off you’ll be. The same goes for any resolution. Ninety percent of the time, if you set a specific goal, you’re more likely to succeed. So, try not to be vague and put some thought into it.
4. Pick a Deadline
Timeframes are a great solution for those who need more structure in their routines. Pick an expiration date for some of your goals. Doing so will push you to be more responsible and accountable in seeing them through. For instance, make it a point to have worked out at the gym at least 30 times by the end of March. Create a tally system on your phone, so you can keep track. Overall, this can allow your goals to seem more reasonable.
5. Give Things Another Go
Did you make a list of New Year’s resolutions last year? If so, try to incorporate some of the ones you failed to achieve into this year’s mix. You won’t be alone, as nearly two-thirds of American adults said they wanted to give 2019’s goals another try.
There’s no shame in this. Just be sure to identify why you abandoned your old resolutions and how you can accomplish them now. Make any needed changes, so they reflect your current lifestyle.
6. Treat Yourself
Though the resolution process may seem difficult, it’s not supposed to be a tedious regimen. To make sure you stick with your goals, don’t forget to reward yourself. Saving money? It’s OK to get a drink at a bar or buy new lipstick every so often. Losing weight? It’s not the end of the world if you eat that brownie.
Remember, this is still your life, so have some fun with it. But control is crucial – you don’t want to fall completely behind.
7. Ask for Support to Reach Your New Year’s Resolutions
When we set out to accomplish a large feat, it’s often necessary to rely on others for support. This year, try to work with a friend to create similar goals. You’ll then be able to push one another and have someone to discuss the experience with.
Even though you’ll have the same resolution, your reasons for it may differ, so acknowledgment and respect are key here. Don’t be afraid to seek help or support from people, no matter what your goals are.
If you’re tackling a more severe issue, like addiction, talk to a professional — they’re there to help you each step of the way.
8. Don’t Expect Too Much
A mistake many people make is that they expect total change. But, it’s not possible to fix every unhealthy habit all at once. Remember, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.
This advice goes hand in hand with remaining realistic. For instance, don’t set goals that are out of your reach financially. It’s not exactly smart to take out a loan to pay for a luxury vehicle if your salary can’t support that.
Start small, pick the two traits you want to improve most and go from there. Once you accomplish that, try to add another. Slowly but surely, you’ll be the person you want to be. It just takes time.
9. Stay Flexible – But Also Rigid
This tip may seem counterintuitive, but there’s some science behind this. As you construct your list, remind yourself that flexibility is an admirable quality. No one can predict the future, so when you create your goals, think about this fact.
If you want to focus on travel this year, write that down. But remain aware that you don’t have to go to a specific location to achieve this. Then, be rigid when it comes to the completion of the goal, so you finish it out.
10. Remember Why You Made the New Year’s Resolutions in the First Place
It’s inevitable — all of us hit a point where we’d rather do just about anything else than apply for another job or forgo a night out on the town. That’s why it’s crucial to remind ourselves why you’re here in the first place. You’ve always wanted to be in that line of work, and owning a house will make you happier in the long run than a dinner with friends.
If you start to feel like you’re on the decline, take a few moments to remember the importance of your goals.
Your Time Is Now
The hardest part of a New Year’s resolution is sticking with it. Follow these 10 simple tips so you can take 2020 by the reins. Remember – start small and work your way up. Seek support if needed, and above all else, think about why you want to fulfill your goals. These tips will ensure you put your best foot forward and accomplish everything on your list.
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Jennifer Landis, writer and founder of Mindfulness Mama, has been writing for the last decade and holds a BA in journalism. She is an avid goal setter and achiever.
Jennifer’s proudest accomplishments include two all-natural births, running a marathon, successfully making a croquembouche, and running two half marathons.
In addition to The Doctor Weighs In, her writing has appeared in VeryWell Family, Fortune, Scary Mommy, The Huffington Post, and Women’s Running. Tweet her your favorite health tips @JenniferELandis.