How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions
With the turn of the new year, many people have set their goals for the year 2022. Some common resolutions include frequenting the gym more, eating healthier foods, and trying countless other things to bring better habits into their lives. To help stick to your 2022 goals, start small and make a plan, keep a positive mindset while practicing patience with yourself, and celebrate each win!
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6 Ways to Stick to Your New Years Resolutions
If you are looking for a rebrand for the new year, you may be worried about maintaining your new year's resolutions. In 2021, only 46 percent of people were still keeping up with their resolutions six months into the year. You can take several steps to ensure you see through with your goals until the end of 2022.
Six helpful steps that you can take so you stick to your resolutions are:
- Start Small
- Make a Plan
- Be Consistent
- Stay Motivated and Positive
- Allow for Mistakes
- Celebrate Each Win
Step 1: Start Small
An important first step in maintaining your resolutions is to start small. At the beginning of the year, you may be very excited and motivated to make changes in your life. However, this ambition can cause you to set unrealistic expectations for yourself and create goals that are too big to maintain. Instead, you can take smaller steps throughout the year in order to achieve your overall goal.
For example, if you want to try exercising more, begin by only going to the gym two or three times a week instead of five. If you’re able to keep up with it, continue to add more days into your routine as you see fit. Define your resolution as a first step, and then work backward to determine tasks that will help you meet your overall goal. Making small improvements over time will give you the confidence to keep going.
Step 2: Make a Plan
Similar to making smaller steps along the way, creating a plan for your resolution journey is essential for following through with it. A well-thought-out plan will give you guidance and structure for achieving your goals. Determining the timeline in which you would like to complete your tasks will help you set your smaller goals too. Writing your plan down makes it more real, and provides some short-term motivation.
In the process of creating a plan, you’ll want to be specific about the things you would like to achieve. Listing when and where you would like to complete your goals will help you to stay on track. These cues will remind you about the tasks at hand. For example, if you would like to journal more often, consider writing out the time and location of where you would like to do so each day. Say you want to “journal in your bedroom after you wake up in the morning.” That way, once you are awake in the morning, you’ll be reminded to complete this part of your routine and may feel guilty if you don’t do so. You could even try setting a reminder on your phone to do so.
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If you are at the beginning of your new year’s resolution journey, you may be unsure of how to even make good goals. One way to do so is by following the SMART acronym, which is a set of parameters for goal creation that make it easier to meet milestones and achieve your resolutions. SMART stands for:
- Specific: First, you need to be specific about what you want to achieve. Consider all of the classic ‘w’ questions- who, what, when, where, and why. For this step, you don’t need to know how you are going to accomplish everything, but this will provide the baseline for the changes you want to make in your life.
- Measurable: Measuring your progress is another essential aspect of reaching and creating goals. You’ll want to make sure that you have checkpoints along the way so you know you are on the right track to completing your resolution. These measures can be either quantitative or qualitative. Little steps along the way will also help you remain motivated on your journey.
- Achievable: You don’t want to set unrealistic expectations for yourself, as your resolutions will not be achievable. Consider the time and skills that will be needed to make your goals happen. Do you have the free time needed to go to the gym every day? If you don’t have the skillset now, will you be able to gain those skills throughout the year in order to meet your goal? These are all aspects to consider when creating goals.
- Relevant: The goals you set should be relevant to your life as well. Think about the ‘why’ aspect of your resolution. Make sure that it fits in with the direction your life is going in. Stay true to yourself and the person that you want to become.
- Time-Bound: Set time restraints for your goals. Anyone can create a resolution, but if you don’t have a date in mind that you would like to hit the mark, you may not have the motivation to do so. It’s necessary to create this constraint to keep yourself on track. Otherwise, you may never meet your goals.
Step 3: Be Consistent
It's essential to be consistent with your new year’s resolutions. Taking time off from your plan will make it difficult to get back on track. You’ll need to discipline yourself and hold yourself accountable for achieving your daily tasks. After you have created your plan for your resolution, write it down in as many places as you can. Use calendars, planners, and even apps on your phone to set reminders and keep yourself aware of what you need to do each day.
It can be difficult to be consistent if your goals are unrealistic, which is why it's important to start small as well. Staying persistent and consistent will eventually turn your resolutions into habits, and they will almost be like second nature to you. Instead of something annoying you need to get done for the day, it’ll start to feel strange if you don’t complete it.
Step 4: Stay Motivated and Positive
Motivation is another key aspect to achieving goals, but it can be hard for some people. Mundane tasks that you have to complete each day can start to feel like a job and feel boring to do. In order to stay motivated, you’ll have to find a balance between goals that challenge you but are also in your range of capability. Goals that meet this description will keep you interested enough to keep up with your resolution.
Another aspect of staying motivated in your 2022 resolution journey is to also stay positive. Making changes to your life, especially big ones, can be scary and nerve-wracking. Focusing on the negative aspects, like how stressed out you may be or how tiring something is, will only make it harder for you to reach your goals. Instead, think about how these new changes in your life will have a positive impact on you. Thinking positively will not only help you achieve your goals but also better your health. Positive thinking has been linked to an increased life span, reduced risk of death from several diseases, and lower rates of depression.
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Step 5: Allow for Mistakes
It can be difficult to stay positive if you accidentally have a slip-up while trying to achieve your new year goals. Sometimes, mistakes happen, and that’s okay. When most people deviate from their original plan, they get upset and feel down on themselves for not sticking to their goals. However, it’s inevitable that some emergencies will arise where you can’t go to the gym, wake up early, etc.
Instead, give yourself a few freebies each week, or even a ‘cheat’ day. You can add this wiggle room as you are making your plan for the entire year. It will help you to feel less constrained by your lifestyle changes and make it easier for you to adopt these resolutions. You’ll also feel more motivated and confident in your ability to get your tasks done. Don’t fear the possibility of failure of your goal. Stay resilient and start fresh the next day.
Step 6: Celebrate Each Win
Finally, celebrate your progress along the way. You are your own best cheerleader! Because you have created a plan for your resolution journey, you can easily track your progress. Cheering yourself on each small milestone will give you the energy and motivation to keep going. In no time, you will end up at your final goal and feel great at the achievements you have made.
Another way you can celebrate your wins is by telling your friends and family about the resolutions you are trying to make. If they are aware of your goals, they can help track your progress as well, and cheer you on when they see you making changes. Encouragement from others will motivate you even more, and remind you that other people are holding you accountable.
The new year means a clean slate, a chance for you to start fresh. Many people begin the new year by creating resolutions and goals for the upcoming year, but often have a hard time sticking to them. There are lots of ways to ensure you stick to your plans, including starting small, being consistent, and staying positive along the way. In addition, planning your goals according to the SMART acronym will help you create attainable goals for your lifestyle.
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Talor graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health, and minors in Spanish and Diversity & Inclusion in May of 2022. She has a passion for health equity and diversity in health. In the future, Talor hopes to work in public health policy reform to help eliminate health disparities. She enjoys reading, cooking, and listening to podcasts in her free time.