How to Actually Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

Every year we make a New Year’s resolution, and every year we end up either forgetting about it or losing hope and convincing ourselves we can’t stick to it. Make this year different by following these tips to keeping your New Year’s resolution:

Be reasonable. Don’t doom yourself from the start: make a New Year’s resolution that you can actually accomplish in a year. Biting off more than you can chew will only lead to a failed resolution, so make sure you decide to take on a challenge that is reasonable and achievable.

Aim for something positive. Instead of vowing to quit something or stop a certain behavior, try to put a positive spin on your resolution. For example, turn “quit eating junk food” into “eat more vegetables.” If your resolution seems negative, you’re less likely to want to do it. But a positive resolution puts you in the right mindset from the beginning.

Be charitable. Put a generous twist on your resolution! If you want to get organized, clean out your closet and donate the clothes you don’t need to charity. If you’re trying to get in shape, participate in 5k’s that benefit causes you’re passionate about. No matter what you resolve to do, find a way to give back to those in need. You’ll not only help out your community, but you’ll also feel even more rewarded for sticking to your resolution.

Be specific. Your resolution should be something specific and measurable. Pin it down to one thing instead of something that’s too broad or vague. Something like “Drink more water” could be changed to “Drink eight glasses of water a day.” Don’t just resolve to lose weight. Ask yourself exactly how much you want to lose. Are you trying to fit into a smaller pant size or just be healthier in general? Being specific with your resolution allows you to have a distinct goal in mind. Unless you can clearly visualize what you want to change or achieve, you won’t know how to get there!

Set milestones. Take it one step at a time. If your resolution is to run a marathon by the end of the year, but you’ve never run more than a mile, start small. If you try to tackle something huge from the start, you’ll be overwhelmed and give up. Instead, start with smaller goals and work up to your big one. For instance, run a 5k, then a 10k, then a half-marathon before taking on a whole marathon. Meeting these smaller goals will keep you motivated and also help you work toward your resolution.

Set deadlines. A year can seem like a long time. If you find yourself thinking, “I’ve got a whole year. That’s plenty of time!” then you’ll keep procrastinating and never reach your goal. Set specific deadlines for each of your milestones that encourage you to get things done and not waste any time.

Keep track of your progress. By keeping careful track of your progress, you can visualize it as you go. Keep a calendar or a chart that tracks how far you’ve come since January 1. If you’re trying to lose weight, use a nutrition-tracking app to count calories, carbs, and protein for you. Take “before” and “after” pictures weekly or monthly to
see your results throughout the whole year. Halfway through the year, look back at your progress so far and use that motivation to keep going.

Remind yourself. Give yourself daily reminders so you can’t possibly forget about your resolution. A simple but effective way to do this is to change your computer’s log in password to an inspirational phrase that can serve as a reminder. For example, if your resolution is to get fit this year, your password could be “w0rkOutTod4y!” Since you have to enter your password numerous times every day, it will be impossible to forget your resolution.

Every new year comes with the opportunity to turn over a new leaf. Take advantage of that opportunity this year by using these tips to keep your resolution. With a little determination and willpower, you can stick to it and accomplish what you set out to do on January 1!

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