All too often we make New Year’s resolutions at the end of each year only to watch them crumble after the first couple of weeks in January. Our good intentions rarely seem to take us far, but there are ways to make this year the year you become a better version of yourself.
Aim high, but don’t set yourself up for failure. Know where your limits lie right now, start small, and build your way up to success. Everyone has room for improvement, and the goals we strive to achieve should make us want to work hard to feel better about ourselves. With that being said, here are some tips to make the best resolutions for you and how to stick to them.
1. Be realistic.
Don’t make it a goal to exercise 6 days a week right at the start of the new year when the idea of working out is novel to you. It’s a great goal to have, but you have to build up to it so you don’t harm your body. Setting realistic resolutions is less intimidating, so every time you look at your list, you won’t wallow in the pressure of possibly not meeting your goal. It’s not being pessimistic; it’s being realistic. Also, don’t set 100 resolutions. Depending on how big your resolutions are, pick a reasonable number of goals you want to achieve in 2016. You won’t feel like you have a ton on your plate, making it easier to get to where you want to be.
Having a realistic mindset will get you farther because giving yourself achievable goals will make you feel better about yourself when you reach them.
2. Plan ahead and set start dates.
Make a plan to fulfill your resolutions. Don’t randomly decide you’re going to cut sweets one day because you probably won’t be as mentally prepared as you think. If you set a start date (and it doesn’t have to be on New Year’s Day), you’ll be able to plan ahead for potential speed bumps. If someone at the office brings in a box of variety cupcakes and cupcakes are your most favorite dessert in the whole world, because you planned ahead, you’ll know what to do to avoid encountering the sweets savage in you.
When you reach your start date, make sure you put 100% of your effort into it. Go big, or go home.
3. Make small resolutions that can grow throughout the year.
Regardless of how big or small, you will feel amazing when you can cross off achievements along the way. It’s more likely that you will commit to your resolutions if you actually feel like you’re making improvement. The more you cross off, the more new resolutions you can make towards creating a better you.
Tip: make a commitment card and leave it in your wallet, on a bathroom mirror, or wherever you frequent. For example, write, “I’m committed to running 8 miles every week.” It’s a great source of positive reinforcement.
4. It’s okay to mess up.
We’re only human, and it doesn’t mean the end of the world when you experience slight hiccups along the way. If one of these days you cave and smoke a cigarette when you’re trying to quit, don’t automatically plaster “failure” all over you. Instead, make a note of what triggered you to succumb to your craving and vow to make this a lesson. Find out what makes you do things that you shouldn’t be doing.
Perseverance is key. Try, try, try again, and you will find success.
5. Plan rewards for yourself.
Give yourself a pat on the back every once in a while. Changing your habits is harder than it seems, and small rewards are great encouragement when days are extra tough. You get to decide on the reward – after all, you know what makes you happiest. I suggest small rewards for achievements throughout your plan and bigger ones at the halfway point and finally at the end. It’s great to have something to look forward to, although maybe fulfilling a resolution is a great enough award!
Good luck on whatever resolutions you have this year! All it takes is dedication and a will to succeed!