With 2020 finally here and a new decade officially started, you’ve probably fallen into the camp of New Year’s resolution-ers who are determined to make this a fresh start. However, now that January is firmly in the rearview mirror, you might be struggling for the motivation to keep your resolutions going strong. Don’t feel bad – it happens to all of us! Making lasting changes is a lot of hard work and takes more than just good intentions and a little dedication. There are ways to keep you strong and moving in the right direction and we’re here to share those with you. Read along to discover some of our top tips for making sure this is the year your resolutions stick.
1. Set a SMART Goal
The easiest way to reach your goal is always to have a good goal to begin with. SMART is a goal setting technique and acronym which means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. All good goals should conform to these things as they are far more likely to be meaningful and successful in the long-term. What should this look like in practice? Well, while setting SMART goals and resolutions, you should ask these questions:
- What do I want to accomplish, when do I want to accomplish it by, and why do I want to make this resolution?
- How will I know that I have achieved my resolution?
- Is this resolution actually doable? Can I reach my goals? If not, what do I need to achieve it or how do I need to change my resolutions to make them attainable?
- Who all is involved in this goal? Is it just me or does it involve others? Will I need a support system to achieve this goal?
- What specifically am I hoping the outcome of this resolution is?
Answer all of these, and you’re well on your way to good, achievable resolutions. To get the best experience, we encourage you to write down all your answers and keep them where you can see them daily. This helps you focus, stay clear about the path you need to take, and it will keep you motivated for longer.
2. Focus on One Major Resolution at a Time
When you boil it down, resolutions are all about habits and habits are notoriously hard to change. Contrary to popular belief, they’re usually not formed in 21 days. Rather, they sometimes take as long as over 250 days to become automatic! Trying to change several things at once will just overwhelm you and alter your routine enough to make you want to quit altogether, so it’s better to just focus on one resolution and change at a time. This means you might have to prioritize. Sit down and take stock of all the things you want to accomplish this year and be brutally honest about what is most important.
3. Break Your Resolutions Down into Chunks
Humans are overwhelmed easily and (sorry to tell you), you’re probably no exception. Keep this at bay by breaking down large resolutions into small, doable chunks. For example, if your big resolution this year is to finally learn the piano, set up small goals to make that happen. First, maybe you should learn the key names and hand positioning, then move onto learning how to play simple notes when you’re more comfortable. No matter what goal you have though and what those steps look like, just make sure to break it down into bite-sized bits. No matter what journey you’re on, you’re going to be lost if you don’t have a clearly marked path. Set up a clear road and you’ll reach your destination far faster and with fewer detours.
4. Don’t Repeat Resolutions
Do you have a resolution you just can’t seem to make stick? Do you keep failing to get into shape or keep failing to save up enough for a major vacation? Do your resolutions of eating healthy or becoming a great singer keep falling off to the wayside? Maybe it’s time to put them to the side for a while. To accomplish any resolution, you need to believe you can! If you’re just constantly repeating past failures, that “I’m just going to fail anyways” mentality is probably rattling around in your brain, even if just subconsciously. You’ll never see good results that way, so try to pick something new for a change. That’s not to say you should completely give up on past goals or that you should never revisit those resolutions, but you should take a good break for a while. Sometimes we just need a fresh start.
5. Find Support
No matter how independent we consider ourselves, every last one of us needs someone. Why not embrace this fact? Leaning on other people and coming to them for support is one of the best ways to ensure your resolution will finally stick. Friends and family will keep your motivation up and will hold you accountable while making sure you’re not pushing yourself beyond your limits. They can also make sure you’ve set good, attainable goals and can lend an ear when things get tough. What’s not to like about that?
6. Remember Change Takes Time
One of the biggest mistakes people make when following their resolutions is thinking that change will happen overnight. No! Change is a slow, drawn-out process. It simply takes time. You won’t develop lasting habits in a night, a week, or a month. Sometimes, you might not achieve want you want to even within a year. But that’s okay. Cut yourself some slack and recognize that change isn’t a race. Slow and steady always wins. Also, keep in mind that its okay to have ups and downs. Progress isn’t always linear. There might be times where it’s one step forward and two steps back. Focus on that one step forward. You’re doing great.