2019 is finally here. And you’ve probably made a few resolutions to ring in the New Year. But how do you actually stick to them this time around? Instead of giving up all hope way too soon, follow the advice below.
Resolutions should have these parameters
If your resolutions are too vague without specific timelines, you’ll probably fail. But if each resolution is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, then you’ll have a greater chance of following through:
- Specific. Each resolution should be crystal clear. Formulate a concrete goal. Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” state a specific goal such as, “I want to lose 5 pounds in three months.”
- Measurable. Your progress should be measurable. While this is easy to do with weight loss and fitness goals, it also works for other resolutions, such as spending less money or quitting smoking. Log your progress in a journal or use an app to reinforce your progress and help keep you motivated.
- Achievable. Make sure your resolutions are actually things you can achieve. Losing 20 pounds in a month probably isn’t realistic, but losing 10 in two months is. It’s essential that your resolution doesn’t consume your whole life — taking too big of a step too fast will only leave you feeling frustrated.
- Relevant. Are you making the resolution for the right reasons? Does it really matter to you? Don’t create resolutions out of a sense of feeling guilty or shameful. Create them because you want to improve the quality of your life.
- Time-bound. All resolutions should have a concrete timeline. Give yourself enough time to achieve your resolutions, and break down larger goals into smaller ones. Be sure to focus on small wins so that you remain motivated and focused on creating and maintaining new habits.
Focus on one resolution at a time
You’ve probably made a bunch of different resolutions, such as eating better, exercising more often, drinking less alcohol, and losing weight. Instead of tackling all of these goals at once, focus on one at a time. Though some resolutions go hand-in-hand, like eating healthier and losing weight, trying to fix all your habits at once will only set you up for failure. Pick one primary goal for now, and stick with it until you’ve achieved that goal.
Set up a support system
Inform a few close friends and family members of your resolutions. Let them know you’re serious about achieving your goals and ask for their support. Maybe your friend can hit up the gym with you a few times a week. Or your mom is willing to teach you how to cook some new healthy recipes.
Even if your friends and family are onboard to help you with your goals, you might still find that you need extra support. Consider joining a group of other people trying to achieve the same goal, such as Weight Watchers. It can be helpful and motivating sharing your setbacks and successes with others who are working toward the same goal.
Give yourself a break
We’re all human — that means you’re not going to be 100% perfect all of the time. Cut yourself some slack if you didn’t hit up the gym four times this week or if you went over your calorie allotment on Tuesday. Remind yourself that you’ll do better at your next meal or that next week you’ll go to the gym all four days. The important thing is to get back on the horse if you fall off.
Here’s to a new and improved you!
Only 20 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually stick with them. But you can join that minority by making sure you just focus on one goal at a time, you have the support you need to succeed, and your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable. Remember to break larger goals down into smaller ones, and celebrate successes, no matter how small.
- “How Do You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions
?,“ Forbes, January 31, 2018.
- “How to Make (and Keep) Your New Year’s Resolutions,” Self, January 1, 2018.
- “How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution,” New York Times, n.d.