At the end of every year, millions of people think about what they want to change in their lives and their habits as the new year approaches. Whether it’s being more financially-responsible, getting in shape, eating better, sleeping more, drinking less or spending more time with family, statistics show most people who make a New Year’s resolution fail to meet that goal – and only around two months into the year. Why are resolutions so hard? And how can we actually stick to them? Luckily, there are a few tactics you can try if you’re having trouble sticking to your resolution or have already fallen off the goal train. After all, no one said you have to start in January!
1. Make the goal doable
It’s tempting – and honorable – to shoot for the stars with your resolutions, but these are the goals most likely to fail. Setting the bar too high can discourage you when you don’t quite achieve what you were aiming for. Instead, set an attainable but still-challenging goal – like working out twice a week instead of every day – and go from there. Take baby steps! Changing habits is hard; what matters is giving yourself a feasible timeframe and just getting started.
2. Let’s get personal
The more personal your goal is, the more likely you are to complete it. If you’re having a hard time making progress with a certain resolution, you may need to decide if it’s something you really want to do. When thinking about what you want to accomplish, decide what means the most to you or your family and what will have a measurable impact on your life. The extra motivation of something truly personal to you may be the extra push to take you all the way across the finish line.
3. The more the merrier!
Whether through competition or camaraderie, resolutions are more likely to stick if you take them on with a friend. This can be a workout buddy, a book club, accountability partners, or just personal cheerleaders to inspire, motivate, and join you on your path to success. If accountability partners aren’t available near you, a great option is to find supporters online. There are Facebook groups and message boards for every hobby or goal imaginable, and especially at the beginning of the year when people are searching for others on the same journey as them. This is a great way for you to achieve some goals and make a few friends along the way.
4. Make the new year easy and fun
Most of all, the best way to stick to your resolutions is to have fun with it. None of us will stick to something we just plain don’t enjoy. Even if you’re a non-athlete working toward fitness for the first time, or a late-riser trying to wake up at 7am, anything can be achieved if you find a way to enjoy it. Build in rewards to make the effort worth it – like having your favorite creamy coffee if you wake up before 8, or a “cheat day” if you stick to your nutrition goals the rest of the week. Milestones are meant to be celebrated, and you’re more likely to keep going if you pat yourself on the back as you go.
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