I’ve always been a big fan of making New Year’s resolutions. I envision each year as the start of a new chapter – a way to reinvent myself, develop better habits, and enhance my life. New Year’s resolutions make us more self-aware and encourage us to think about what it is we really want to accomplish and who we want to be. And, if done properly they can create a roadmap for us to develop a more fulfilling life. Here are a few tricks I have learned over the years to help make those resolutions stick:
Be specific. Making your goal as specific as possible will help you to better realize what you want to accomplish, and make it easier to actually do it. For example, if your resolution is to “exercise more”, make it more specific by saying that you will “go walking for 30 minutes 3 times a week”.
Start small. We often set many lofty goals for ourselves at the New Year. While thinking big is great, be careful not to overextend yourself. Setting too many goals may actually be detrimental to us and encourage a greater likelihood of failing than if we just create a single attainable goal.
Write them down and create an action plan. A study done at Dominican University found that those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who didn’t. Writing down your resolution forces you to be specific and encourages you to create an action plan of how you will accomplish it.
Plan ahead for weak moments. If you plan ahead to set yourself up for success, you can help yourself to avoid them. Are you prone to hit the snooze button for a few extra minutes of sleep, instead of waking up and hitting the gym? Put your alarm clock across the room to force yourself out of bed and have your gym bag ready to go the night before. Can’t help sneaking a few M&M’s as you walk by the candy bowl? Throw out the bowl and stock your fridge and pantry with nutritious snacks. By eliminating your triggers, you help yourself avoid missteps.
Tell people. One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable to a resolution is to tell others about it. And not just anyone, but those you trust to support you in your goals. Even better – get them involved! Invite a friend to go on weekly walks with you. Ask your sister to join you at Weight Watchers. Involving others in your resolution will make it much harder for you to break it.
Allow yourself to slip up. In fact, you should expect it. Nobody’s perfect. Even with the best intentions, we all make mistakes and have weak moments. But don’t let one or two missteps cause you throw in the towel or lose your motivation. Stay focused and get back on track.
What New Years resolutions are you making for 2015?