The New Year signals a time to turn over a new leaf. It’s a time of renewal, and of inspiration. So much so that millions of resolutions are created in the span of a night. The downside is that many of these, although created with the best of intentions, will be put back on the shelf for the next New Year to roll around.
So, the biggest question might often be a resolution in and of itself. How do you keep your New Year’s resolutions alive and kicking past the first couple of weeks in?
Did you know that? Two weeks is the average lifespan of a resolution made for New Year’s. Two weeks, less than four percent of what they’re supposed to last. That may be stretching it too. A resolution is not necessarily supposed to last the entire year, just until you achieve it.
That brings us to our first tip to tackling that resolution list that for some people, might have started to resemble a grocery list.
- Set smaller goals. It’s imperative to remember that New Year’s is not the time for a large character overhaul. Instead, you want to set smaller goals. If your goal this year is to live a more environmentally friendly life, for instance, start small by switching to organic garden sprays, or committing to recycling as much as possible. Smaller goals are easier to accomplish, and eventually as these small goals are overcome, they’ll help you achieve your larger vision.
- Set realistic goals. Along with grandiose goals being unattainable, you must set realistic ones too. If you’re a business owner, for instance, looking to cut operational costs for the betterment of the company, don’t think that you’ll suddenly be able to do the marketing, bookkeeping and cleaning for your entire business. That’s simply not realistic. Instead, seek out resources that will help you achieve your goals realistically, such as by contacting an outsourcing company for finance and marketing
- Kick the comparison habit. What is realistic for someone else might not be realistic for you. Quit comparing your goals, your success, and your failures to that of other people. Sharing, support, and constructive criticism are encouraged, but beating yourself up over someone else’s standard just isn’t necessary. If your goal this year is to spend your time wisely, then get an aesthetically pleasing watch and check in on your own progress throughout the day. You can write down the times it takes you to accomplish certain tasks and compare them to prior days to figure out how you can improve. It’s okay to compare your own habits to yourself, but don’t fall into the rabbit hole of comparing yourself to others.
- Talk about it. Realizing that everyone has someone to work on is a big step. Finding support among each other is crucial for success. Goals that are supported tend to last longer.
- Mistakes. Falling off the wagon is okay, so long as you don’t let it leave you completely behind. Don’t beat yourself up. Do not strive for perfection, and keep in mind that as a human being, you are bound to make mistakes. Sometimes you may be too busy or tired to go to the gym, and sometimes you might have worked hard enough that the brownie after dinner doesn’t matter.
- Define if it’s an excuse or reality. Hold yourself accountable to your goals. No one else is going to do them for you, and no one else wants or needs them. They are important to you. Find a way to hunker down and determine whether you’re formulating an excuse or if you have a valid reason for breaking stride.
- Make a public declaration. Whether to friends, family, or strangers even, declare your goal to someone else. Of course, if it’s something like you just received great news about your STD test, that’s fantastic, but probably not something to boast in public. But if you’ve gone three days without smoking, let other people know! Now, not only will you hold yourself accountable, you’ll have the benefit of someone else knowing to keep you accountable too.
- Change is hard. Honestly consider how long it has taken for you to form the bad habits that you’re trying to kick. We aren’t saying that it will take as long to undo them, but keep in mind that change is difficult because we humans are creatures of habit. We like routine, and we want things to stay the same, even if it may not be the best for us.
- Celebrate success. Part of fine-tuning the art of habit-changing is giving yourself a reason to change a habit. When you complete part of your attainable goal, celebrate. Whether you reward yourself with a new mattress upgrade, invest in new summer camping gear, or even simply play fun and silly online games, do something in celebration of what you’ve accomplished. It’ll make you look forward to achieving the next goal, which in turn will lead to a successfully kept resolution.
- Maintain what works for you. If you’ve been able to celebrate some success, it can become easy to become overconfident and slip back into old habits. Overconfidence is when you are most vulnerable to those small mistakes that will unravel the best of goals. Keeping a food diary, or not hanging around friends that partake in things you’re trying to forgo has worked so far. Don’t give it up to chance your success.
An essential part of the New Year’s resolution is to remember that it isn’t how much change happens in a period. It’s accepting that changing your lifestyle is important, and working towards that one day at a time.