Come this January, about 40% of all Americans will vow to change one thing or another about their lifestyles.
New Year’s resolutions usually fall under the following categories:
- Weight loss
- Personal development
- Health and diet
- Stress management
- Focusing on personal relationships
Fast forward six months later and 60% will have completely forgotten all about their resolutions.
But carrying out your resolutions can be done. Read on to find out how.
1. Define Your Motivation
There are 2 types of motivation:
- Intrinsic – this means your motivation comes from inside. For example, you prefer jogging, going to the gym, or shopping by yourself because you like how you feel afterwards.
- Extrinsic – you’re pushed forward by actions outside your personal scope. In other words, you prefer working out with your friends, and work harder when there’s a reward system in place.
Once you figure out what your motivation type is, then all you have to do is put yourself in situations that make you more excited to accomplish even more.
2. Actions Speak Louder Than Results
Deciding on a goal for the New Year is always easier said than done. However, it’s the steps you take to reach that goal that’s the tricky part. If you want to stick to your resolutions, it’s wise to break each step down into smaller goals, if possible, to make them more manageable.
Moreover, each time you achieve a goal, reward yourself and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Positive reinforcement is crucial to help guide you as you push toward your goal and commit to your responsibilities.
One way to keep everything in check is to make sure your actions are SMART:
- Specific. Having a specific end result prevents you from making excuses.
- Measurable. Evaluating your progress will give your motivation a boost.
- Achievable. You can set daily goals as a building block to bigger goals.
- Relevant. Otherwise, if it’s not relevant, why bother?
- Time-bound. Goals need to have a defined end date.
3. Be Honest With Yourself
The more realistic your resolutions, the more likely you’ll see them through. If your goal for the New Year is to exercise more, then start small. Instead of planning a five-day workout week, go for 20 minutes a day then increase gradually.
You’ll find that, as with all goals, as soon as you start seeing what you’ve accomplished, you’ll be pumped to do even more. However, it’s crucial that you stay away from the “all-or-nothing” approach. Doing something, even if it’s a small piece of what you’d originally planned, is much better and more productive than doing nothing at all.
Moreover, it’s equally important to not have too many resolutions up in the air at once. Make a list, prioritize them, and go from there. Once you feel the first one’s in the bag, go for the second, and so on. Focusing on one goal at a time will channel your energy and efforts there, helping you reach your target faster.
4. Think Things Through
Having a positive mindset is key when progressing toward your goals, but let’s be honest; every plan is bound for failure if you’re careful. Be smart and anticipate these obstacles so that when they do appear, you’ll be prepared.
For example, if you get bored when you exercise, choose upbeat workout music that’ll get you revved up. Or you can work out at home, as you catch up on your favorite TV shows. If your motivation method is extrinsic, go to the gym with a friend. The idea is to nip it in the bud before it becomes stronger than your willpower so that you can surmount any obstacle that comes between you and your goal.
5. Be Accountable for Your Actions
Accountability means you’re taking responsibility for the choices you’re making. This may seem easy to do at work when you have a deadline and a boss reinforcing it. It may not seem as easy when you’re home alone and skip out on cooking a healthy meal, and order take-out instead.
You can enlist the help of a friend or join a support group where you’ll know that you made a certain commitment to someone, even if it’s simply sending a photo of your home-cooked meal on social media. You can also hang a calendar on your wall with progress notes so you can keep tabs on how far you’ve gotten and what still lies ahead.
Keeping your New Year’s resolution can seem scary at first. However, with these five steps, you can do anything you put your mind to. Moreover, once you accomplish your first resolution, you’ll find that not only is it beneficial, but it’s fun as well!