New Year’s resolutions are a tradition for many, as is their customary failure. As January moves on and the warm buzz of the holiday season fades, even the most optimistic resolution maker might find themselves struggling to adopt their new ideal into their everyday life. In fact, according to PR Newswire, January 17 is “Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day,” presumably named because most resolution makers throw in the towel by mid-January. But it doesn’t have to be that way. No matter your New Year’s Resolution, a few simple tips and a little hard work can help you keep them or get back on track.
Recommit. With busy work and social lives, it’s easy to forget goals and new year’s resolutions. It’s even easier if those goals are vague and can’t be measured. Examine your New Year’s resolution. Write it down somewhere you’ll see it every day. Out of sight is truly out of mind, so don’t let your goals and resolutions ever slip out of your sight. Bigger New Year’s resolutions may require more work to achieve. Consider keeping a journal about your resolution for a daily motivation recharge. Or better yet, find a social group or create a blog for added accountability.
Adjust your expectations. According to the Washington Post, New Year’s resolution vary greatly, with weight loss, improving finances, exercising, and getting a new job being the most common. The reason why people fail New Year’s resolutions, however, is surprisingly common. In the blind optimism of a new year, most people make resolutions that are so unrealistic they are impossible to keep. So while it’s tempting to shoot for the moon with your New Year’s resolution, a more grounded goal is better for long term success. Make sure your resolution is specific and measurable. Lose weight is vague, lose 50 pounds is ok, but lose 10 pounds is the resolution most likely to succeed.
Build a routine. Most New Year’s resolutions involve forming and maintaining new habits. It takes 21 days and a lot of willpower to establish a new habit, but there are ways to make the process flow smoothly. Build a routine around your New Year’s resolution, and develop a plan to see it through. If you want to lose weight, develop a plan for late work nights when a pizza seems much more appealing than a bowl of vegetables. If you want to improve your finances, plan out shopping trips to avoid budget blowing temptations. If you plan to quit smoking, review your typical day, note when you commonly smoke and find a different reward. No matter the resolution, having a plan is the best way to ensure success.
Realize you aren’t alone. If you think you’re alone in your struggles to stick to your New Year’s resolution, think again. Just look at Twitter to see all of the resolution makers lamenting broken resolutions.
And…just like that. New Year's Resolution fail. At least I made it 17 days.
— Hello_Old Market (@Smkidd7584) January 17, 2016
Whether you're ditching your New Year's resolution or sticking to it—we've got you covered. ✅ Are you…
— Red Robin (@redrobinburgers) January 17, 2016
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that one day of failure means your revolution is down the drain. The goal is to make a change during 2016. Life coach Jon Acuff notes that any habit takes time to establish, and a habit takes just as long to break.
“This January, when it takes too long to accomplish your resolutions, make sure you give yourself something important – time. Slow results are still results. Slow progress is still progress.”
Celebrate milestones. According to Patch, 43 percent of all New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. Recommit to your New Year’s resolution, and celebrate when you pass a milestone. Even if that milestone is a single pound, a dollar saved, or one more day you stuck to your goals.
[Photo by Turgay Gundogdu/Shutterstock]