We have all made New Year’s Resolutions before, and we all know how difficult it is to make them stick. We tend to forget much of our resolutions as the days of a new year go on, but it does not have to be the same this year. It is not just a new year this time — it is a new decade to make new habits and break old unhealthy ones.
Before we go ahead with a few tips to keep your New Year’s resolutions, below is a guide in picking the right resolutions for yourself. Believe it or not, our resolutions can be doomed to fail if they were not chosen wisely. If it is something that was chosen based on what someone else said, too vague, or unrealistic, please drop the list and check out this mini-guide in making your resolutions:
In business school, students are taught to create goals that are SMART or spelled out completely: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. While this decision-making tool was designed primarily for people who manage businesses, it will also work in creating your new year’s resolutions.
To illustrate, instead of saying that you resolve to lose weight this year, it may be smarter to say “I will work out three days a week to lose 10 pounds from January to March.” Instead of saying “I will read more” say, “I will read one book every month this year.” By stating clearly what you want to achieve, you empower yourself to commit and be consistent in working on it. There is great power in the words you say every day, especially if it is phrased in the SMART way.
Once you have a clear list of goals in mind, consider these 5 smart ways to make sure you will be on track this year and achieve your New Year’s resolutions:
1. Review the past year.
Last year may have been a bombastic failure, but do not let it hinder you from achieving your resolutions this year. Take a keen look at what happened last year, and see where you may have tripped up. A sincere attempt at this exercise will give you more fuel to fulfill your goals. By knowing what went wrong, you will not be doomed to repeat them. Were your goals too ambitious? If that was the case, maybe you might want to scale back this year’s goals. If you initially planned to run an hour every day, try starting with 10-minutes per day.
2. Keep your list short.
The prospect of building new habits may be exciting. All too often, we make the mistake of listing down too many goals at once. What’s worse than poorly phrased resolutions? Answer: a long list of resolutions to do in a limited amount of time. To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, learn to prioritize. Which goals are the most important ones? Which ones are superficial? Ask yourself these questions while cutting down your list into a simple and attainable collection of resolutions.
3. Break down your resolutions into actionable steps.
Okay, you have finally dreamt big. You have resolved to build a habit of jogging every two days to be able to join a new marathon. Once you have set this as one of your intentions for the year, create a plan with steps that you should take. Think small and write actionable steps that will move you forward with your goal. If jogging is one of your resolutions, maybe buying an appropriate pair of shoes is one of your steps. By breaking your new year dream down to smaller steps, you will be able to follow through with your plans.
4. Find an accountability partner.
Your goals were designed for yourself, but it may be false to think that you should do everything alone. Check with your friends and see if any of them have the same resolutions as you. If you and your best friend has goals of losing weight, it may be good to enroll at the same gym and schedule weekly gym dates to check up on each other. Talk about your individual goals, and give pointers to each other when necessary. Having an accountability partner will encourage you to push through the bumps in the road. You and your partner will be giving each other mutual support to achieve each other’s goals.
5. Reward yourself.
We know that working on changes can be challenging, so do not skimp on rewards for your work. Rewarding yourself can be in the form of new clothes, or something as simple as a pat on the back from yourself or your accountability partner, or a long shower after a great workout. The best part: you do not even have to wait for your ideal results. Pausing to acknowledge your growth and progress is precious. Seeing how many boxes you have ticked from your small steps will surely encourage you to keep going.
For anyone working with changes, mistakes are bound to happen. Do away with your idea of perfecting a habit. It will never be a smooth-sailing process, so do not be too hard on yourself. Challenges are inevitable, so just prepare to move past them. If you ever slip from your new lifestyle on Day 31, do not make the grave error to stop completely and go back to your old ways. Any progress is always better than no progress at all. So if you were only able to run one mile instead of two, be thankful. You can make up for it in the following days. The important thing is you keep going.
Resolutions are just another form of promises to do better. It is taking charge of your life, and being responsible for your future. The beauty of it is in the fact that it is a promise to yourself. Remember that you are in control of your situation, so it is definitely your actions and commitment that will bring you your desired results. It can be daunting to change or add new habits to your current lifestyle but it doesn’t have to be. Combine your strong self-control with all the tips above, and you will surely become a better person by the end of this year.
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