The start of a new year is the perfect time to turn a new page, which is probably why so many people create New Year’s Resolutions. A new year often feels like a fresh start, a great opportunity to eliminate bad habits and establish new routines that will help you grow psychologically, emotionally, socially, physically, or intellectually. Of course, resolutions are much easier to make than to keep and by the end of January, many of us have abandoned our resolve and settled back into our old patterns.
So, why do we make resolutions?
The beginning of a new year is an opportunity for a fresh start, which is why so many people set sometimes overly lofty resolutions during these times. While this can sometimes lead people to bite off more than they can chew, such moments can also present great opportunities to overcome struggles with willpower.
What can you do to make it more likely that you will keep your next resolution?
Choose a Specific, Realistic Goal
Every year, millions of adults resolve to “lose weight” or “get in shape” during the next year. Instead of selecting an open-ended goal, focus on something more concrete that you can realistically set your sights on.
For example, you might commit to losing 10 pounds or running a local fun marathon. Choosing a concrete, achievable goal also gives you the opportunity to plan exactly how you are going to accomplish your goal over the course of the year.
Pick Just One Resolution
While you might have a long list of potential New Year’s Resolutions, we suggest picking just one and focusing on it rather than spreading yourself too thin among several different objectives. Taking on too much all at once can be daunting. It can be particularly difficult too because establishing new behavioral patterns takes time. Focusing your efforts on one specific goal makes keeping a resolution much more achievable.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Planning is an essential part of achieving any goal. If you start working toward a goal without any type of plan in place, you might quickly find yourself giving up any time you face any sort of obstacle, difficulty, or resistance.
You can start by writing down your goal, making a list of things you might do to achieve that goal, and noting any obstacles that might stand in your way. By knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and the difficulties you might face, you’ll be better prepared to stick to your resolution and overcome potential struggles.
Start With Baby Steps
Taking on too much is a common reason why so many New Year’s Resolutions fail. Dramatically slashing calories, over-doing it at the gym, or radically altering your normal behavior are sure-fire ways to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal. While it may seem like a slow start, these small changes make it easier to stick to your new habits and increase the likelihood of long-term success.
Avoid Repeating Past Failures
Another strategy for keeping your New Year’s Resolution is to not make the exact same resolution year after year. If you do choose to reach for the same goals you’ve tried for in the past, spend some time evaluating your previous results. Which strategies were the most effective? Which were the least effective? What has prevented you from keeping your resolution in past years? By changing your approach, you will be more likely to see real results this year.