With the end of the year approaching and a new one coming up, it isn’t just a new year that people look forward to. It’s the promise of a fresh start, a clean slate and a time to re-evaluate your life and goals to spend the next year trying to be the best version of yourself, whatever that means to you.
However, while it is easy and also fun to set new year’s resolutions, it isn’t always as easy to keep to them. So, here are 5 strategies to help you stick to your resolutions:
1. Set SMART goals
Firstly, it’s hard to reach a goal if the goal isn’t a SMART one. Make sure that whatever resolution you write for yourself hits these points:
Too many people write broad resolutions which makes it difficult to know what exactly you’re aiming for. Be specific with what you want. For example, instead of saying, “I want to get better at running”, say, “I want to be able to run 5 miles in one hour”. Being specific means that your resolution is well-defined and clear, with no room for ambiguity.
Also consider the 5 w’s, (who, what, where, when and why), to create even more clear-cut resolutions.
You have to be able to measure your progress. Make sure that your resolution is one that you can track. This way, you’ll know if you’re making progress or if you need to adjust your strategy.
If you want to run 5-miles in one hour by the end of the next year, how many miles will you need to be able to run each week to reach that 5-mile mark? You might want to work on increasing the length of your run by one-mile every two months, for example. This way, you can actually progress. Not to mention, hitting small milestones will give you that motivation to keep going.
There is no use trying to set a resolution that isn’t achievable. You need to ensure that the goal that you set is something that you actually can reach.
If you want to run a 5-miler in one hour, do you have an area or park around you that you can use to run? If your goal is to go to the gym a certain number of times a week, do you have the resources to maintain a gym membership as well as travel to and from there for your specified days?
These are all factors that you need to take into consideration.
Consider whether this resolution is worth having. Is it something that really matters to you? These are the resolutions that you should have.
If you’re half-hearted about wanting something, then the chances are, you’re not going to be putting much effort into achieving it.
This comes back to the point about being specific. Don’t leave your resolution open-ended. Give yourself a deadline to have a sense of urgency as well as a clear finish line.
2. Focus on one goal at a time
Having too many resolutions is not ideal, even if they’re all SMART. Instead of focusing all your energy into one or two resolutions, you’ll be forced to spread yourself thin.
Not to mention, implementing too many changes in your life will make it harder to keep consistent, which is crucial to reach any resolution.
3. Create a plan
Once you know what resolution you want to focus on, create a plan that details exactly how you’re going to get there. Break down the resolution into smaller goals and steps so that it makes it less overwhelming and much more achievable, which brings up to our next point:
4. Start small
Big changes can bring big results, but it can also make it really challenging to stick to. Instead, implement small changes into your routine to reach your specific goal, whether that means just going to the gym once a week to begin with or even going for a 10-minute walk everyday.
Just be sure that over time, you’re constantly challenging yourself so that you can continue to progress. Once you get comfortable, it’s time to enforce a new small change.
5. Re-visit your resolution and plan
Make sure you keep revisiting your resolution and plan to get there. Track your progress so that you can see how far you’ve come and how far you’ve got to go. Also, doing so means that you’ll be able to determine whether you’re on the right track or if you need to re-adjust your plan.
Just bear in mind that consistency is key and sometimes it takes time to see change. However, if something isn’t working for you, then revisit the plan and adjust it so that you can get back on track. Find the balance in between.
6. Celebrate the small wins
While your resolution is the big goal that you want to hit, if you’ve detailed your plan on how to get there, chances are, you’ve detailed smaller goals and milestones along the way. Be sure to celebrate the small wins along the way.
Not only will this make it easier to stay on track and continue on, but it’s also because it would have been well-earned. It’s important to know how far you’ve got left to hit that resolution but also, be proud of your progress and how far you’ve come.
Make it a resolution to stick to your new year’s resolutions by planning smartly, breaking down your goal and ensuring that you celebrate the small wins along the way.