6 Tips to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
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By Trina Basaysay
Whatever your New Year’s resolutions for 2023, the start of the year is an excellent time to begin working towards them. After all, the new year is all about fresh starts and new beginnings.
However, while resolutions give you the motivation you need to change, they are difficult to reach. A high 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail, with people’s resolve consistently showing signs of waning by February.
But there are ways to stay motivated and committed to your goals. Let’s dive into 6 practical tips to help you stick to your resolutions no matter how challenging they may be.
Why It’s Hard to Hit Your New Year’s Resolutions
Before we dive into these 6 tips, let’s take a look at why resolutions often don’t work and why your interest fizzles out like clockwork year after year.
Caught up with the excitement to make a change, it’s easy to commit to too many resolutions. Overcommitting may leave you feeling overwhelmed to the point of you quitting on your resolutions altogether.
This could be further worsened by impractical and unrealistic goals. For example, Life Coach Sophia Fromell says that it may be unrealistic for you to make a resolution to go to the gym everyday given your other commitments in life.
So instead of every single day, Fromell suggests visiting the gym twice a week. This way, you're making this resolution easier to fulfil.
Too Broad or Lack of Meaning
Another pitfall is that the resolutions are not only not specific but not anchored on purpose as well. For goals to work, they must be both doable and meaningful.
If, for instance, you resolve to lose weight because you want to increase your energy, improve your overall health, and boost your self-confidence, you’re likely to be more inspired to follow through.
A New York Times article pointed out that one of the reasons why resolutions fail is when we base them on societal norms or standards instead of our values and what we consider important and meaningful to us.
Lack of Social Support
Several studies have established the positive effects of social support on hitting one’s personal goals. Given this, it pays to share your goals with those closest to you who can encourage you along the way. You may also find yourself motivated to stay on track when they remind you of your successes.
Guide to Stay Motivated
Tip #1: Aim for Realistic Goals
Realistic goals are achievable because they consider factors such as personal skills, timeframe, and disposition, says the Wealthful Mind. Understanding why you’re making your specific set of goals this year and how you intend to realise them at the onset will help keep the momentum going.
Tip #2: Ask Better Questions
To be able to come up with purpose-filled resolutions, you have to ask yourself better questions. Questions such as the following will help put things in perspective:
• Why am I making these goals this year?
• Who do I want to become this year?
• What am I willing to sacrifice or let go of for my goals?
• Why do I need to do this?
This practice gives you time to self-reflect and, consequently, enable you to decide what to prioritise or let go. It lets you pinpoint which goals will change you best based on who you envision yourself to be.
Tip #3: Be Gentle with Yourself
Change doesn’t happen overnight. As old habits die hard, it’s normal to miss your targets. The aim is not perfection but persistence. Be gentle with yourself during setbacks, and remember that it’s fine to restart.
Tip #4: Get an Accountability Partner
According to Board-Certified Clinical Psychologist Dr. John Norcross, Chair of Psychology at the University of Scranton, having an accountability partner makes it “harder to back out” from your goals. Share your resolution with your accountability partners along with any support you may require from them. Discuss what help they can provide you with.
Tip #5: Don’t Forget to Reward Yourself
Rewarding yourself is one of the best ways to keep you motivated. It reminds you that you're willing to put forth the effort needed to achieve your goals.
Patting yourself on the back after reaching a milestone can help you feel good about what you’re doing and further push you to keep going. MindTools suggests making the rewards special and memorable so as not to lose your drive.
Tip #6 Track your progress
Journaling is a good way to track your progress and identify your behavioural patterns. The American Psychological Association notes that you’re likely to hit your goals if you often monitor your progress. Additionally, for Boston-based Psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Ward, jotting your goals down makes you more accountable for accomplishing your intentions for the year.
Don’t let yourself feel demotivated by the idea that you must hit your targets all the time. Forget perfection. Instead, create a plan and adopt an approach that will bring you closer to your goals without forgetting to enjoy the process. The new year is a reminder that change is possible and that you have the power to make it happen.
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