The New Year is fast approaching and chances are you’ve made, or will make, a New Year’s resolution. Choosing a New Year’s resolution is the easy part. The hard part is sticking to that resolution. Here are 5 simple tips to help you successfully maintain your resolution.
- Be realistic. Choose a resolution that is attainable. For example, if you want to lose weight, aim to lose 5 pounds, not 25. If you reach that 5-pound goal quickly, you can then restate your resolution to lose another 5 pounds. If you set the bar too high or too low, know that your resolution can be adjusted to fit your reality.
- Make a specific plan. Write out your resolution and exactly how you will carry it out. Think of it as a contract with yourself. Include your specific resolution in your contract. For example, “I want to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 3 days per week, each week this year.” Also include when you will work on this resolution, how you will keep track of your progress, and how you will reward and reinforce yourself. Feel free to add anything else that you feel will help you keep on track. This is your resolution and should be tailored to you and your life. Just remember, the more specific your plan is, the more clearly your resolution will be thought out. This clarity will help you be more successful in sticking to your resolution.
- Reward yourself. Track your progress as outlined in your contract and decide on how you will reward yourself for reaching milestones on your way to accomplishing your resolution. For example, if your resolution is to exercise for 30 minutes a day, 3 days per week, each week this year, reward yourself with a new pair of shoes for each month you reach your 30 minute per day, 3 days per week exercise goal. These rewards will keep you motivated to keep working on your resolution.
- Bring in reinforcements. Find others who share the same resolution as you and work together, practice positive thinking and self-talk, remind yourself why you chose your resolution in the first place, and tell others about your resolution. All of these actions will motivate you and hold you accountable to your plan, thus helping you stick to your resolution.
- Don’t give up. If you get off track, don’t think that you can’t get back on. Try to reflect on what got you off track and then if needed, adjust your resolution to make it more attainable. For example, was your resolution too daunting? Adjust it so it is easier to obtain. Make a new plan and go from there. Remember even small successes can be extremely rewarding.