Your new year’s resolutions are set—now it’s time to achieve those goals. To ensure that time doesn’t erode your motivation, we’ve compiled our four favorite ways to keep the resolve in our resolutions.
Have a Practical Plan
The more natural your goals, the easier it is to turn them into habits. Setting manageable, actionable expectations for yourself is imperative—if you’ve set your sights a bit high and you notice yourself struggling already, consider adjusting them. Instead of thinking “I’m going to lose 20 pounds”, think instead about specific decisions you can make to work towards that greater objective. Start with things like drinking more water or taking a walk twice a week—resolutions don’t have to involve difficult change—and rely on consistency to move the needle.
Having a practical plan should also encourage practical expectations. Take satisfaction in the fact that you are sticking to your plan, rather than focusing too much on the results you are looking for. Open ended goals like “I’m going to learn how to make healthier decisions” can also help emphasize the individual actions you’d like to take.
There are two strategies you can use to leverage peer pressure to your benefit:
- Common Goals—find a friend who has similar new year objectives and work together to stay motivated. Message them often about your progress and have them do the same. These exchanges allow you to document your experience, and knowing that they are sticking to the plan will inspire you to do the same. Plus, it’s fun to be able to share your success with somebody!
- Different Goals—partner up with someone who wants to accomplish something completely different! Having separate goals will help you both direct your focus internally—you’ll still be able to motivate one another by sharing your progress without getting bogged down in competition or comparisons.
As you continue to strive towards your goals, don’t forget to celebrate your success! Rewards aren’t reserved for the finish line, and positively reinforcing your actions will turn chores in fun challenges. An important note—rewarding yourself is not the same as cheating on your resolutions. If you’re trying to eat less sugar, don’t reward yourself with a slice of chocolate cake. Instead, be creative and find the rewards that work best for you (that don’t inhibit your progress). Listen to your favorite song when you’ve completed a task, indulge in a nap, or even pay yourself—sticking to your plan will be much easier when there’s a little instant gratification involved.
Forgiveness (and Regrouping)
Have compassion for yourself—hiccups are a natural part of every new year’s resolution. For many, a few missteps can mean abandoning the plan altogether. Forgiving yourself for slipping up, however, will enable progress. Identify the error, do your best to come to peace with it (resolutions are hard!), and regroup. Patience is crucial when sticking to your plan, and that starts with being patient with yourself.
Remember—it’s never too late to forgive yourself for straying from your objectives. The new year is an arbitrary date we use to feel a clean slate—whether you started on day one or start tomorrow, there’s always a chance to make this year the year you achieve your goals. And if you find that your resolutions have been smooth sailing so far this year—congratulations! Keep up the good work and keep pushing yourself to succeed.
Don’t forget to join our New Year, New You challenge for the chance to win more than $500 worth of health-oriented goodies, including a MyFitnessPal membership and an Apple Watch!