It’s the start of a brand-new year and we can hardly believe how fast last year went by! For many, the new year is seen as an opportunity to get a fresh start on life. New year, new me. Isn’t that how the saying goes? We’re all familiar with the tradition of creating a New Year’s resolution to set goals for ourselves and make positive changes in the upcoming year. While setting these goals often comes easy, sticking to them long-term can be difficult. In fact, studies have shown 80% of Americans fail1 in keeping their New Year’s resolution by February. It can be incredibly frustrating to fall off the wagon, especially with goals that are so important to us. So how can we make sure to stick to our New Year’s resolutions and accomplish our goals? Here are some tips that may help you do just that.
When creating New Year’s resolutions, it can be easy to set your sights on big changes, and as a result, create big goals. However, creating big goals which may be unobtainable could be setting yourself up for failure. Take some time to really evaluate your goals for this year and be realistic about what you can stick to and accomplish. For example, one of the most common New Year’s resolutions people set is to go to the gym more often. This can be a great goal to have, but if you currently don’t exercise at all, it may be unrealistic to expect you will begin exercising every day of the week. This big and sudden change in activity level may be hard to keep up with and you may be more likely to ditch it.
When considering your goal, looking at the big picture can be overwhelming. This might be because doing so requires you to consider all the things you need to do to accomplish your goal in its entirety – which could be a lot. Rather than going straight for your end goal, start with smaller goals that will build up to the end result. This will help break your goal into smaller, more manageable tasks and could make sticking to your New Year’s resolution a little easier. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, start by changing one meal a day rather than trying to change all your meals at once. As you get used to the change, you can add another meal and work your way up.
What’s Important to You?
Roughly a quarter of all Americans2 chose to follow the tradition of setting a New Year’s resolution in 2020. When so many people around you are setting goals for the new year, you may feel pressured to do so too. However, just because your friends and family are setting New Year’s resolutions doesn’t mean you have to as well. Take the time to evaluate your New Year’s resolution and determine if it’s something that’s important to you. If your goal isn’t something that’s important to you it may be harder to stick to and lead to unnecessary frustration down the road.
As you’re working toward your goals it’s important to feel as if you’re making progress, otherwise you may become frustrated and feel as if your efforts are meaningless. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back and celebrate your wins, no matter how small they may seem. Each step you take toward reaching your goal is another step toward success and deserves to be celebrated. Celebrating your success is sure to make you feel good about what you’re doing and should help give you the motivation to keep going. To help, track your efforts with a written account of what you’ve done. For instance, keeping a calendar to track how many days you’ve gone to the gym if your goal is to exercise more, or to track how much you’ve put into savings each week if your goal is to save more.
Don’t Give Up
Nobody is perfect as everybody makes mistakes – and that’s okay! When working on your resolution you may have times where you falter and stray from the path of your plan. However, one mistake doesn’t undo all the hard work you’ve put in up to this point. If you make a mistake, try to remember that you’re only human, get back up, and keep moving forward!
1Mills, Jarrod. (2020, Jan 3). Retrieved from: https://www.thetimestribune.com/news/local_news/tips-for-making-sure-your-new-years-resolutions-stick/article_8cd14b54-17fd-51a9-ab5a-89859e6e34c4.html
2Ballard, Jamie. (2020, Dec 23). Retrieved from: https://today.yougov.com/topics/society/articles-reports/2020/12/23/2021-new-years-resolutions-poll