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How To Make a New Year’s Resolution Stick

You know the drill. Every January 1 you make a list of everything you want to fix about yourself. It is the same list you make every year but you tell yourself that this year will be different. By January 15, all resolutions are broken and you are back to square one.

Sound familiar?

You are not alone. Every new year brings hopes of a new beginning. A new us. But somehow we fall off track and throw new hopes aside as we stick to the same us.

This year will be different. And here’s how.

Make a list. List everything that you want to achieve this year. It can involve big things like take a big trip or small like learn CPR. List everything you can think of and then select a few favorites. You can’t become a new person or do everything, so pick what is most important to you and start with those.

Be realistic. Declaring that you will lose 20 pounds or save $1 million is just setting yourself up to fail. Sure, dream big. But know what you are willing to do and if it is even possible. Look at your life and make goals based on what you are willing to achieve.

Have specific goals. A resolution to get in shape or be healthier is so vague and really does not give you something concrete to work towards. Instead of saying you want to get into shape, focus on a specific goal like run a 5K or attend yoga class once a week or eat 2 more servings of vegetables a day. This gives you something to work on now instead of some ideal.

Alter your behavior. New Year’s Resolutions are all about altering who you are and your behavior. Altering your nature (good or bad) takes practice and time. Be realistic about your triggers and know how to alter it. For example, you are always late. You can’t just say that you want to be early now. Look at why you are late. Are you staying up late every night and sleeping in through your alarm? Are you unrealistic about how long it takes to get places? You will stop being late if you start going to bed earlier and giving yourself an extra 5 minutes. Look at the trigger to bad behavior to alter it.

Accountability. Tell a friend. Write about it on a blog. Do whatever you need to do so you feel accountable for the new changes in your life. It is popular to do a resolution series on a blog so readers (friends, family, the like) can follow along your journey. Give yourself one focus a month and go from there. Having loved ones cheer you along as you rise (and fall) will give you more motivation that you will ever need.

Reward yourself. Celebrate your triumphs. Ran 5 times a week for a whole month? Treat yourself to a movie or that sweater you want. ┬áPat yourself on the back. You’ve done a good job.

Happy resolutions!

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