Making and Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

As we approach the end of the year, something that might be on people’s minds is what their New Year’s resolution will be for the year 2020 (wow, how is it already 2020?!).

If you’ve ever made a New Years resolution, odds are you won’t be surprised to hear that over half of all New Year’s resolutions fail – honestly we’re shocked it isn’t more.

Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to diet or eat healthier, to exercise more, to lose weight, to save more money, to quit smoking, and to learn a new skill or hobby.

We all start the year with good intentions and goals to “be better.” However, somewhere along the way – whether it be the first week, the first month, or somewhere after that – that goal slowly falls to the wayside. It could be that life throws us a curveball, or we set too lofty a goal to meet, or that goal becomes not so important to us anymore, etc…

Whatever the reason, with such a high rate of people giving up on their New Year’s resolution, how can we make this time around more successful? How can we stick to the goals made with good intentions to be better people than we were the year before?

Here are some tips to help you make and keep that New Year’s resolution this year:

  1. Make your goal a lifestyle change: Go into your New Years resolution with the mindset that this is a lifestyle change and not a temporary fix. For example, if you want to diet and exercise to lose weight, it’s best to start making healthier and realistic lifestyle choices. A burger with a side salad instead of French fries. A thirty-minute walk after work instead of one of the many episodes you’re going to binge on Netflix. Diets and exercise plans tend to come and go, but if you make a lifestyle change instead, you’re setting yourself up for a better chance of success and learning how to have a healthy balance.
  2. Keep your resolution simple: Start out with one small goal that is easy to keep. If you’re trying to change your entire lifestyle from the 31st of December to the 1st of January, of course you are going to feel overwhelmed and give up! Start out small and make your way up from there.
  3. Set clear, realistic goals within your goal: Take your resolution one small step at a time. If you try to bite off too much at once, you’ll likely give up. Set a goal to lose 5 pounds and have a plan on how you’re going to do this. Once you reach that, set a goal to lose another 5 pounds and a plan for that as well. If your goal is to save more money, start out by trying to save $50 a month and decide how you’re going to do this (by not getting your daily Starbucks, by riding your bike to work 2x a week to save on gas, by making a budget for going out with friends so you don’t overspend, etc).
  4. Create a schedule: How often are you going to check yourself in your goal to evaluate how you are doing? If you just make a goal with a vague “I’ll do this for the year,” it’ll be hard to keep yourself accountable. Give yourself a timetable to evaluate your goal once a week, or once a month to ask, “How am I progressing? What can I change if I’m not progressing the way I want?”
  5. Get support: Find friends and family who support your goal and want to be there for you along the way. They can also help keep you accountable and can be a good support system to lean on when you’re feeling week and wanting to give up.
  6. Give yourself grace: You won’t be perfect and there might be times where you slip up in your goal, but don’t let that talk you into giving up completely. Have grace for yourself, knowing you aren’t perfect, and just try to get back on track the next day.

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