How many of us come up with a list of New Year’s resolutions every single year? Practically everyone of course, even if it’s just a few things we hope to change about ourselves. Yet according to Forbes, only eight percent of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions! Think that’s bad? The Washington Post declares that by the end of this week, 25 percent of those who set resolutions for the new year will have already given up.
It’s so unsurprising an outcome that SNL actually dedicated a comedy skit to failed New Year’s resolutions.
Well, perhaps it’s best to break that vicious cycle of failing New Year’s resolutions year after year by forming a pattern of success. How is this possible? Well, here are a few helpful suggestions from around the Internet.
— Fallon Tonight (@FallonTonight) January 1, 2016
The first step to succeeding is to set realistic goals. Instead of saying, “My top resolution for 2016 is to lose 100 lbs,” tell yourself that you intend to eat more vegetables and work out a few times a week. Notice that this resolution shifted from losing a specific amount of weight (or failing) to a change in lifestyle choices.
Improving your overall health by eating better and getting regular exercise will more than likely help you lose weight. By making your overall health the resolution instead of a number on a scale you’ve made it so that every positive change you make is a fulfillment of the original goal.
Try to make the new year more about doable changes that can be accomplished gradually over the course of the next year. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t set “hard” goals for yourself. When you write your New Year’s resolutions down, simply go over them and pay careful attention to ones that, as worded, you will probably struggle with or abandon completely.
There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself leeway if it means you’ll ultimately succeed in the realm of self-improvement.
— CNN (@CNN) January 2, 2016
Instead of feeling pressure to achieve all of these changes at once, map out your year based on what could be accomplished in a matter of days, over the course of several weeks, a few months, etc. This set up makes it easier for you to complete resolutions and feel accomplished.
For example, if one of your goals is to get your driver’s license, don’t write it as something you’ll do sometime this year; set an exact date to take the test. If you want to get your passport in order to travel abroad, find out how much it costs, what materials are needed, and then create windows of time to do exactly what’s needed over the next few weeks or months to make that happen.
While we fail some resolutions that are too inflexible and overly challenging, others go unachieved because we never take the steps necessary to achieve them by being unspecific about how or when we’d like to make them happen.
Consider buying a date book or purchasing a new calendar specifically for keeping track of your new year’s resolutions throughout the year.
— Jason Houck (@MJasonHouck) January 1, 2016
A useful alternative to a single year’s worth of resolutions? Setting resolutions that you intend to achieve over a period of a few years. Some things — like a slim figure or your master’s degree — may not necessarily be achievable in just one year. Instead of creating resolutions over a single year, you could also map out plans over the next few years, with 2016 laying the necessary groundwork for all you hope to achieve.
Should you want to learn a new language through Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, or classes you take, you don’t have to be fluent by December. But maybe with any luck, you’ll be able to order all your food in French by the end of 2018.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) December 31, 2015
One final bit of advice? Don’t expect everything to smoothly, and don’t look at mistakes or setbacks as absolute failures. Often when we buy cheesecake instead of kale or have to put that few hundred dollars towards the rent instead of a new apartment as planned, we’re tempted see it as a white flag of surrender.
Often this is done without truly appreciating what a resolution truly is. To be “resolute” is to be firm, filled with an unshakeable determination. You need not be perfect, only driven towards the eventual achievement of whatever resolutions you’ve set for yourself this year and beyond.
Don’t give up when you misstep, no matter how many times you do so. If you have to, take a “breather” for a day or two and then try again.
Hopefully, these tips will not only inspire you to continue with your New Year’s resolutions in 2016 but every year afterwards.