We’ve taken yet another trip around the sun, which means it’s time for the time-honored tradition of declaring resolutions for the new year! Unfortunately, another time-honored tradition is breaking those same resolutions. Estimates vary, but as few as 2% of people end up sticking to them. This year, why not use some of these tips and tricks to help make keeping your resolutions easier?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
One of the most common new year’s resolution missteps people make is to set a goal that is too ambitious, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and lost. Diving right in to big lifestyle changes can be jarring and stressful, and make it more likely that you’ll run out of steam. Break big resolutions into smaller ones, and tackle them one at a time. Want to lose fifty pounds? Start by resolving to walk at least a mile per day, move on to cutting out sugary drinks like soda and juice, then try taking the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Reaching each milestone will boost your confidence and propel you toward the next one, and before you know it your goal will be on the horizon.
Successfully keeping a new year’s resolution is its own reward, but it couldn’t hurt to give yourself smaller incentives along the way. Just make sure that your incentives don’t conflict with your resolution: no celebrating going to the gym with a chocolate sundae!
Use the buddy system.
Most new year’s resolutions are private affairs, personal struggles of willpower against inertia. When you’re only accountable to yourself, it can become all to easy to keep cutting yourself slack on sticking to your goals. Instead, make a pact with a friend or family member to keep each other on target with mutual support and encouragement. And if you both make the same resolution, it’s easy to turn what otherwise may be an intimidating chore into a fun social occasion. If you’re the competitive type, you may even make a friendly wager for further motivation!
Make technology work for you.
Traditionally, people have used tools such as paper calendars and checklists (or even a string tied around the finger) to help keep track of their resolution progress. These days, there are an enormous amount of resources and tools available to help you, no matter what your goal for 2016 may be. Looking to quit smoking? There are a wide variety of mobile apps designed specifically to help you. Need to keep to your new gym schedule? Set up a web calendar that reminds you with mobile notifications. Trying to save more money this year? Set up automatic deposits into your savings account each month. The possibilities are virtually endless.
Don’t resolve to do something you hate.
When people think of new year’s resolutions, they often picture something difficult and unpleasant. While it’s true that the changes we want to make in our lives often involve the shedding of blood, sweat and tears, not every resolution needs to be so strenuous. This year, try your hand at a resolution you know you’ll love: Carve out more time each day for your hobbies or try to read at least one new book per month. Take classes to learn how to speak Italian or cook a gourmet meal. Whether it’s finally taking that hiking trip along the Appalachian Trail or blowing the dust off of your old guitar, there’s plenty of choices for resolutions you know you can keep.