Making a New Year’s resolution is a good first step to achieving your goals, but simply setting a resolution may not be enough to actually achieve those goals. If you want to look back on 2016 as a year of success, use these tips for making your resolution stick.
Keep it simple. Be cautious of making your resolution too complicated, or of trying to make too many resolutions. Focus on a single goal for the year, and you’re more likely to be successful.
Be specific. Don’t be too vague when establishing your New Year’s resolution. If your resolution is to exercise more, set a clear, specific goal for exercise, such as “I will exercise three times each week.”
Put it on paper. Write your New Year’s resolution down in your journal or on a piece of paper you can hang on your refrigerator or mirror. Wherever you write it, put it somewhere you will see it often and be reminded of your goal for the year.
Find an accountability partner. Once you’ve settled on your resolution, find someone you trust with whom you can share your resolution. Ask this person to hold you accountable and help keep you on track.
Take it one step at a time. Break your resolution down into smaller goals you can accomplish throughout the year. Doing this will help keep big goals from becoming overwhelming. For example, if it’s your resolution to lose 40 pounds by October, that means losing four pounds per month, or one pound per week. Big goals are easier to achieve when they are broken down into smaller, more manageable goals.
Be patient. It takes time to establish new habits—most habits take at least 21 days to take hold—so be patient and give yourself some grace if you stumble along the way.
Track your progress. Use a calendar, checklist or app to track your progress and note your accomplishments throughout the year.
Stay focused on the end result. As the year progresses, it can be difficult to stay motivated. Frequently remind yourself of your goal and why you want to accomplish this goal. When you hit a plateau or feel your motivation waning, take some time to revisit the reason you set this resolution in the first place.
Celebrate your achievements. It’s important to celebrate your accomplishments throughout the year, no matter how small. When you take time to acknowledge your achievements, you’ll feel renewed motivation to keep moving forward.
Don’t wait until tomorrow. Start now. Saying, “I’ll start tomorrow” is only an excuse to put off the changes you need to make today. Why wait? Begin working toward your goal now.
Remember: Most of us fall off track every now and then. If you have a few off days—or even an off month—don’t quit. Instead, pick yourself up and get started where you left off.