Every year, like clockwork, I ask myself four very important questions:
What did I learn from the last year?
What do I want to accomplish next year?
How am I going to do it?
And, how will I stick to it?
In my opinion, it is the last question that is really the most important. Because if you don’t stick to your resolutions, none of the other questions and introspection really matter. And there is no crystal ball when it comes to making and keeping New Year’s resolutions. Either you want to do it and you take actions to make it happen, or you don’t.
6 Tips to Help Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
The following tips don’t guarantee you will keep your resolutions, as that is a matter of willpower, commitment, and desire in terms of how badly you want it. But… they can help you get there.
1. Realize that New Year’s Day is just another day.
Making resolutions on this day is no different from making a resolution on any other day. It just happens to be a logical time to make resolutions because you are at the beginning of a new year which makes everything feel like a new beginning. So don’t feel pressured to have resolutions on New Year’s Day. If you get motivated and want to make your resolutions on February 11, April 19, or October 10, then it is just as valid as on or before New Year’s Day.
2. Make your resolutions achievable.
Take time for some introspection by looking at what’s working and not working in different parts of your life. Then, pick resolutions that you can realistically make happen. Think in short, mid, and long terms and make sure you pick resolutions that can be achieved incrementally instead of something that requires radical change. Finally keep your resolution list short, as in pick only one to three goals instead of the laundry list of 10+ goals. I usually choose one personal goal, one professional goal, one goal related to my family and adjust from there.
3. Write down your resolutions and say them out loud publicly.
Once you have committed to one to three achievable resolutions, write them down. Writing down your resolutions makes them feel more real and tangible than if it is only in your head. If you are a “to-do” lister, writing down your goals will help keep you focused on the resolution and focused on completion.
When you state your resolutions out loud and publicly, it is almost like you are entering into a social contract. And, it makes you more accountable in terms of completing the resolution. Also once you’ve shared your resolutions with a friend or loved one, they can help support you and push you towards achieving your goals.
4. Take smaller steps.
By focusing on the smaller steps that lead to the achievement of larger goals, you remove some of the pressure from yourself. In essence, “focus on the journey and not the destination”. Spend time on each of the smaller steps that ultimately lead you to the larger goal/resolution you have set for yourself.
5. Review your progress.
If you’ve broken down your resolution into smaller steps, it is easier to see if you are making progress or not. If you haven’t made as much progress as you would like, taking time to review your progress gives you the opportunity to course correct and make the adjustments needed to get back on track.
6. Celebrate your successes.
Taking the time to celebrate the work you’ve put in thus far will help to keep you motivated to continue on your path.
No matter what you do when it comes to making new year’s resolutions, keep going and keep pushing as that is truly the only way you will be able to achieve your goals.
Good luck and Happy New Year!