There’s a reason new year’s resolutions are so popular. The start of a new year is a great time to hit the refresh button and start with a clean slate.
The only downside of resolutions is they’re notoriously difficult to follow through with. It’s easy in January when they’re new, and the idea of change is exciting, but then the weeks roll by, life happens, and pretty soon, whatever seemed so important on January 1st is a distant memory by April.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Don’t let your goals for the new year die in the resolution graveyard. Here are five ways to keep those resolutions at the top of your mind until the ball drops all over again one year later.
Answer the question, “Why?”
It doesn’t matter so much what your goal for the new year is, but rather why it’s so important to you. If you’re resolving to lose weight, don’t just say, “I want to lose 30 pounds this year” – finish the sentence: “I want to lose 30 pounds this year …”
“… so I have more energy to play with my kids.”
“… to lower my blood pressure.”
“… because I want to fit into a pair of goal jeans.”
There’s no judgement in your why – the only person who has to know is you. But whether it’s something physical or more of an intangible reason, you’re much more likely to stick to your resolution if you know exactly why you’re doing it.
Write it down somewhere you’ll see it every day.
It helps to have a visual reminder every day. Some people make vision boards, which can be a great tool. But if this isn’t exactly your style, there’s a good chance you’ll be ditching the board by spring cleaning. Rather than reinvent the wheel, stick to something that’s already part of your routine. Do you use a planner? Write your resolution down and tape it to the inside cover. Or a calendar? Write it down again each month. You can even write it down on a simple piece of paper and leave it at your work from home desk so you look at it every day.
Don’t go at it alone – grab a buddy (or two).
The buddy system is helpful for a number of things, and this could be one of them. You and your resolution buddy don’t have to have the same goals, or even have a similar one in mind. Maybe their goal is to do 30 days of yoga, and yours is to commit to reading every night before bed. What matters is the accountability portion. When one of you is perhaps losing sight of the goal, the other one can jump in and motivate you. To ensure even more accountability, grab a few friends! You can start a WhatsApp group message, a Facebook community page, or biweekly Zoom calls to check in on your goals.
Set mini-resolutions throughout the year.
Maybe you don’t have a hard time remembering your resolutions, but they just get boring as the year goes on. Who says you can only have one resolution for the whole year? If you can’t say yes to long-term commitment, consider setting mini-resolutions every two months, every six months, or for each season. Maybe winter is for a weight loss goal, spring is for decluttering, summer is for reading, and fall is for a regular yoga practice.
Reach for the stars, but be realistic.
A resolution certainly shouldn’t be something easy – change never is! But it’s easy to get discouraged if your goal is too difficult. If you want to start cooking more of your own meals and currently eat takeout for dinner every night, it may not be ideal to say, “I’m going to make all of my own meals every day for the entire year” or “I’m going to spend every Sunday meal prepping for the entire week.” Perhaps you’d be better served to say, “Each week I’ll learn to make one new recipe.” Similarly, if you’ve never been to the gym but your goal is to start working out, rather than saying, “I’ll go to the gym for an hour six days a week” (a recipe for soreness!) maybe start with “I’ll go to the gym three days a week for 45 minutes.” It’s better to start smaller and then make your goals increasingly more difficult rather than setting the bar at an impossibly hard level and then giving up completely.
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