New year, new you. That’s what they say, right? New year’s resolutions can be great tools for reaching new, better versions of ourselves. They can help us accomplish our health and fitness goals, be better business people, better friends and employees, and just all-around better people.
I think we’re all also aware that new year’s resolutions don’t often stick. We do a great job for the first week or two before we fall off the wagon and it’s back to same-old, same-old. No matter what your resolutions happen to be, there are a few psychological tips and tricks you can implement to ensure that the resolutions you make stay on track.
These tips and tricks are universal no matter what kind of new year’s resolution you made!
5 Tips for Keeping Any New Year’s Resolution
1) Make it something you actually want to do.
Perhaps the most important element to any new year’s resolution is the actual desire to change. You have to feel convicted. Do you really want to get healthy? Do you really want to be the top earner in your department this quarter? The goals you set shouldn’t be arbitrary or set based on anyone’s expectations of you. You will only succeed if you are choosing goals that you actually want to accomplish.
Even then, are you making them fun for yourself? For example: if you want to pursue a vegetarian lifestyle or a new diet, make it about trying new recipes and less about restricting yourself. Turn what could be seen as limiting into a game or a challenge. If you can find the fun, find it.
2) Be specific and actionable.
When it comes to any goal, the more specific you are, the more likely you are to accomplish it. “Lose five pounds this month” is a lot better than “Lose weight.” Attach numbers and dates to things. It forces you to really commit to your resolution—it makes them concrete. When you do that and attach them real plans, steps, and actionable goals, it makes it so much easier to achieve what you’ve set out to do.
3) Start small.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make with our resolutions is biting off more than we can chew. If we overwhelm ourselves in the beginning, we’re going to fail, and then we’re going to believe we’re incapable. Not so! When you set out to lose weight, don’t try to go from no gym days to hitting the gym seven days a week. Start with three days. If you want to curb your spending, you’re going to have a tough time going totally cold turkey. Allow yourself a little bit of “fun money” until you’re ready to tighten your handle on the budget.
You can always start small and increase intensity later as you can handle it. Starting too much too soon is only going to lead to disappointment.
4) Don’t try to do everything at once.
When it comes to new year’s resolutions, we rarely make one. The best way to get resolutions to stick, however, is to focus on one at a time. You don’t have to worry about changing everything about yourself or your lifestyle or your work habits all at once. That can drive a person crazy! Instead, work on one behavior or habit and slowly work on the next as you feel you can. There’s no rule that says every resolution has to be put into effect January 1st.
5) Share and find support.
Accountability is so valuable. When it comes to big life changes, health, or replacing bad habits with good ones, we all need support systems. It’s enormously beneficial to have people you can share your struggles and triumphs with. That can be family and friends, or you can find a true support group in real life or online. Join a workout class or get together with some coworkers who have the same goals that you do. When you have someone to share in your journey, it becomes that much easier to accomplish what you’ve set out to do.
What strategies help you keep your new year’s resolutions? Let me know in the comments!