The beginning of a year feels like a fresh start, a new blank page for a lot of people. We aim to grow in every aspect of our lives: physically, mentally, financially, intellectually. That is why it’s common for us to create New Year’s resolution—a list of the things we would like to accomplish at the beginning of every year, yet unfortunately, it’s also common for us to quickly throw that list out the window. Research shows that only around 12% of people who make New Year’s resolution felt that they were successful in achieving their goals. But what if we can change the way we make a list of new year’s resolution, so that we can actually stick to them? Here are 5 tips on how to stick to your goals!
Make specific and realistic goals.
For example, you want to lose weight. Instead of only writing down “losing weight,” try also writing down the specific and achievable ways on how you’re going to do it, such as: hitting the gym 3-4 days a week, replacing ice cream with yogurt, sticking to the 50/25/25 eating rule, etc. This way, you won’t feel like your goals are too unattainable and overwhelming.
Take it one step at a time.
You probably have a lot of things you’d like to change about yourself. However, taking on too much and too quickly is a common reason why so many New Year’s resolutions fail. Just like unhealthy habits and behaviors develop over time, it will take an even longer time to replace those with better and healthier ones. So, take it one step at a time. Change your habits one by one, and keep working toward your goals.
Replace “problematic” behaviors with positive ones.
If you resolve to do less of something, changing that behavior is more likely to come with a sense of deprivation. Once you restrict an activity that’s been a regular part of your life, you’ll have a strong urge and craving to get back to it. To manage this, prioritize an alternative behavior that seems like a reasonable substitute for whatever you’re hoping to limit. For instance, instead of “smoking less,” try “do meditation.” Instead of “not watching TV before bed,” consider “reading a book before bed.”
Prepare useful responses when setbacks happen.
Remember, change isn’t linear. You will not always have good days. You will not always feel motivated. You might even relapse. But when this happens, don’t see it as a failure! Pick yourself up and try again. Take a moment to reflect on yourself, perhaps write things down in a journal, such as: when did the relapse occur, what might have triggered it, and what can you do differently next time.
Surround yourself with a good support system.
It might help to share your goals and experiences with the ones you love and trust, allowing them to stay with you throughout your journey. It is not going to be easy, so it’s important for you to have someone to lean on. A solid support system will also help you to be accountable for your New Year’s resolution.