Are you one of many people who have made New Year’s resolutions? And are you one of many people who find themselves not following through on their resolutions? It is one thing to have honest intentions to exercise more, relax more, or travel more, but it is another thing altogether to make room in your daily schedule for new activities or habits.
As the humdrum of daily life continues, you find yourself swept away in the current of continuity. You lose sight of your resolutions, because other important things keep demanding your time and attention. But if you genuinely want to make a change for the better, you can learn how to make your resolutions stick. Since it is easy to fall back into old patterns, here are four easy steps to help you stay on track.
Write Them Down. Keeping resolutions is much easier when you write them down. For most of us, simply talking about the intention to do something leads to very little action, you become a talker and not a doer. You quickly forget what you said you would do as other things take priority in your brain and cause distraction. But, when you write it down, it forces you to really think about what it is you want to achieve. You put your intentions into concrete words that lead to action. After you write down your resolution(s), put the paper or card somewhere where you will see it every day. This way, you will constantly be reminded of your new intentions.
Take it Step By Step. New Year’s resolutions are often big and complex tasks. It takes dedication to make them a reality, and that is exactly why they are hard to stick to. No one can blame you for being overly optimistic at the start of a New Year, but as the year continues you find your enthusiasm and resolve quickly waning. First things first, do not be hard on yourself here, we all do it! Change is hard and you have many other things going on in your life that require your attention. Second, take a closer look at your goal, and see if you can divide it into small, more manageable steps. Take an honest look at what is reasonably doable in the next 30 days and then go from there. It has been psychologically proven that people experience smaller goals as easier to achieve because it is easier to imagine achieving that goal and that is the key! If you can imagine yourself reaching a goal, you will believe in yourself. When you believe in yourself, you will act in a way that will help you achieve your goal. It is self-perpetuating.
Give Yourself Incentives. When, at the end of your first month, you have achieved your goal, reward yourself. Achieving goals should be fun. Give yourself regular, small rewards for achieving different steps, and set up a big reward for when you have realized your ultimate goal. Rewards are a great motivator. They make you think about your goal in a fun way so you do not mind as much doing the hard work it takes to get there. If you do not trust yourself, fearing you might cheat, find an accountability partner. This could be a friend or a family member. They will have the job of making sure you have achieved certain steps before you can claim a reward. Doing it alone is much harder, be willing to invite someone else into the process, which leads to our last step.
Don’t Go It Alone. When the going gets though, you will feel as if life is getting in the way of your goals. You are too busy, there are too many distractions, and you feel as if you lack the self-discipline to continue. However, those barriers don’t have to be the end of your good intentions. Try giving your journey more meaning by taking it a step further and involving a friend. Find a gym buddy or join a cookery class with a good friend. Get into activities that are both fun and can make a positive change in your life. Beat bad habits by getting together with like-minded people who will help make your journey fun.
Whatever your resolution this year, get it started now. Write it down in concrete words. Frame it, if you wish, and hang it up where you can see it every day. Make sure your resolution is broken down into small, doable tasks, and get a friend involved so you can have fun while you work towards your goal. Start your journey now and you will be on your way to a happy, healthy, and successful New Year.