5 Key Tips For Setting New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Keep!
If you’re like a majority of people, you probably look forward to the new year. It’s a time of fresh starts, and a way to leave the past behind. However, by this time in the year ( February 1st) almost 70% of us have already given up on our resolutions.
One of the most common ways to take advantage of that renewed energy is by setting annual goals for ourselves.
Everyone loves a good New Year’s resolution, but all too often we find ourselves starting out strong, yet failing to keep them.
In fact, according to the most recent research, only 9% of Americans actually stick with their aspirations. What sets these people apart? No, they don’t simply have any more ‘strength’ or ‘willpower’ than you do.
If we want to make sure our resolutions stick throughout the year, it’s important to set realistic, achievable goals.
Here are some tips on how you can set yourself up for success this year – and stick to it.
Choose Resolutions You Actually Want To Keep:
You’ve probably heard that New Year’s resolutions are a thing. Sure, people make them all year long, but January 1st tends to be the time when we get especially high on optimism and inspiration and then promptly fall off our health-kick wagon like a toddler who just learned how to ride a bike.
The reason this happens is because most of us never really think about what we’re actually trying to accomplish with these resolutions in the first place.
If you want to make it through the year without losing your mind or giving up on your goals, I suggest being more intentional about what you choose as a resolution—and specifically how realistic it is for you right now in your life.
Here are some things to consider when choosing realistic New Year's resolutions:
Make Your Goals Specific and Measurable:
It can be tempting to set big goals for ourselves—lose 50 pounds, get out of debt, find a new job—but these kinds of goals can be overwhelming and hard to keep up with.
Instead, try breaking your goal down into smaller chunks that are more manageable and easier to achieve.
If your goal really is to lose 50 pounds, break it down into smaller monthly or weekly goals so that you can track your progress more easily and celebrate small victories along the way.
The more specific you make your goal, the easier it will be to achieve. If your resolution is “get in shape” or “spend more time with my family,” that’s great, but there’s no specific way for you to measure those goals.
One idea is to keep a journal as a progress report to track all of your hard work.
Create a Plan Of Action:
Once you’ve broken down your goal into manageable pieces, it’s time to create an action plan.
Start by asking yourself what steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal.
Do you need help from other people? Are there resources available that will make things easier?
Then create a timeline for yourself so that you know when each step needs to be completed. This will help keep you accountable and on track and also provide motivation when your momentum starts to slow down.
Here’s a bullet point list to help simplify this step:
- Be specific. What exactly do you want to accomplish?
- When and how will you do it? Schedule time on your calendar that’s dedicated specifically to achieving this goal.
- What resources will be necessary for your plan of action? Have the right tools at hand, or enlist the help of someone who knows what they’re doing. If a colleague or friend can help with the task at hand, ask them! They may have some great ideas up their sleeve (or maybe even an extra pair of hands!).
Give Yourself a Realistic Timeline:
Giving yourself a realistic timeline is one of the most important parts of setting a new year’s resolution.
You need to give yourself enough time to achieve your goal, but it also needs to be practical.
I recommend giving yourself a deadline that is logical and achievable, but not too soon. The more time you take, the less likely it will be that you accomplish your goal and the more likely you are to lose interest in achieving it at all.
Here are some tips for setting deadlines:
- Don’t set unrealistic deadlines – if your goal is something that takes years or decades (like becoming an expert on something), you don’t want to give yourself just one year or even five years; this will only lead you down an endless rabbit hole of procrastination where nothing gets done!
- Give yourself multiple small milestones – Setting baby steps with shorter timeframes for each task means that there are plenty of checkpoints along the way if things get tough or boring (which they inevitably will). This way when things go wrong we can adjust our course instead of getting discouraged by having nothing happen at all!
Life rarely goes according to plan and sometimes things happen that veer us off course.
That’s why it’s important to stay flexible when setting New Year’s resolutions; don’t get too attached to the outcome or how quickly you achieve it because life has a way of throwing curveballs at us when we least expect them!
If something doesn’t go as planned or takes longer than expected, don’t beat yourself up over it—just adjust your plans accordingly and keep going! It’s better to be delayed than never achieve your goal at all.
Find An Accountability Partner:
Finding an accountability partner can be a great way to stay on track with your goals.
They can help keep you on track by checking in as you work towards your resolution and celebrating with you when you reach it.
It’s important to find someone who is going to be motivated by the same things as you so that they’ll be invested in helping both of your lives improve.
If one of your resolutions is “I want to start exercising more” and their goal is “I want to stop eating sugar,” then it’s probably not going to work out very well if they’re encouraging you not to eat when all they’re doing is eating sugar themselves!
Try setting one or two resolutions you actually want to keep and start small!
One of the most common mistakes people make when setting New Year’s resolutions is trying to tackle too much at once.
Instead of setting a laundry list of goals, try focusing on one or two resolutions that you really want to keep and start small.
For example, instead of saying “I am going to exercise 5 times a week,” say “I will go for a 30-minute walk every day this week.”
Remember that it’s okay if your goals aren’t met right away: research shows that it may take up to 66 days before your behavior changes. Last but not least, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve your goals—just remind yourself that it’s an ongoing process!