Setting New Year’s resolutions is a tradition for many of us. But did you know that MOST people’s commitments start to fall apart before January ends? I don’t tell you this to discourage you from making your resolutions. Instead, I want to help you set yourself up for success.
We set New Year’s resolutions as a way to make positive changes in our lives. What often happens, though, is we set goals that are extremely difficult to achieve. We underestimate the effort it takes to truly change our habits. If we want to actually stick to our resolutions, we have to reframe the way we think about them.
Here are 5 tips for setting New Year’s resolutions you can stick to all year:
Prioritize your resolutions. When it comes to sticking to your goals, less is more. You only have a finite amount of time and energy, so it’s important to be selective about the resolutions you set. The American Psychological Association (APA) actually says that focusing on one behavior at a time is more likely to lead to long-term success.
Choose realistic and measurable goals. Stay away from vague goals, like “I will exercise more this year.” Instead, set goals you can really be accountable for, such as “I will go for a 10-minute walk every morning.” And make sure the goal is realistic. If you haven’t run in 3 years, running 2 miles everyday is probably not realistic. But walking for 20 minutes is. It’s better to err on the more conservative side and surpass your expectations than to be overly ambitious and give up after 2 weeks.
Plan ahead for challenges. No matter what resolutions you set, you are bound to face obstacles. When you set your resolutions, try to think of all the possible obstacles you’ll face and come up with solutions. If you’ve resolved to eat healthy, you’ll undoubtedly be invited to a big family barbecue. If your goal is to meditate every morning, you’re going to wake up late one morning and have to run out the door. The key is to plan ahead for these obstacles. Talk to the barbecue host ahead of time and figure out what you can bring that’s healthy. Meditate on your lunch break on the days you wake up late.
Reward your progress. Most people find themselves very motivated to stick to their resolutions at the beginning of the year. But as the weeks and months drag on, motivation wanes. Planning small rewards for yourself as you reach milestones can help keep you motivated throughout the year.
Be accountable. Doing hard things is always a little easier when you have someone else along for the ride. Plan regular check-ins with a friend to make sure you’re both following through on your resolutions, and to motivate one another when things start to get difficult.
Need help sticking to your health goals?
If you’re ready to make some positive changes in the new year, getting personalized support can really make a difference. You can schedule a consultation with me here to see if we’d be a good fit.
The content found on Integrative Counseling and Nutrition Consulting platform is not intended to be a substitute for professional therapeutic advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your psychiatrist, therapist or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.