10 Tips to Make Your Resolutions Stick
Encountering a setback is one of the most common reasons why New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned. But first knowing what a resolution is plays a key role in keeping that resolution. It’s common to frame a resolution in the form of a promise or oath. This often makes it hard to keep since it is instant failure if you break a promise. It may be easier to carry out by defining resolutions as decisions, course corrections, or a new direction. Tackle your year with these ten tips to help you maintain your 2011 resolutions.
Get over the honeymoon period: It’s easy to get caught up in the moment of ‘a new start’ and to have a strong sense of commitment to change. Before the initial excitement wears off, make a list of the benefits of your resolutions instead of the reasons why you need the resolution. For example, if you need to manage your time better focus on the fact that you will be more relaxed and more confident because you are on top of things, instead of focusing on not being late for everything. These positive associations prolong and renew your motivation rather than constantly remind you of the negative things that need to be eliminated.
Be Proactive: Have coping strategies to deal with problems that will come up.
Play to your strengths: Some people are more likely to achieve their goals if they set specific objectives and write them down, while others are more likely to achieve their goals if they go public and share them with their family and friends. Why not do both, and cover all your bases?
Consider levels of motivation: For the less committed this means recognizing the progress made so far – look how far you’ve come. For the more motivated this means pointing out the work that still needs to be done – look where you’re going.
Change the name of the game: Why does it have to be a new year’s resolution? If you aren’t afraid of making resolutions at any time during the year, they are less likely to lose the luster they are born with in the presence of the New Year and the shiny disco ball you were dancing under all night.
Start small: Taking on too much often derails resolutions. Set small, measurable, and attainable goals that will yield feedback and results within a few weeks. Break goals down into daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly milestones. Don’t expect them to take the full year to materialize.
Change takes time and patience: Habits take time to develop, and therefore take time to break. Don’t try to change all your unhealthy habits at the same time. Try to replace one unhealthy habit with a healthy one before moving onto the next.
Empower yourself: We are human and by definition, not perfect. Know beforehand that you may stray from your goals, but that the quickest recovery will be to recognize the set back and take immediate action to correct it. It will only waste time to wallow in the mishap and criticisms about it.
Ask for help: While asking for help is often looked upon as the presence of weakness, it is actually quite the opposite. It takes a significant amount of courage and trust to reveal our vulnerabilities and needs to others. A helping hand (in whichever shape of form you need) strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress.
Take some time: New Year’s resolutions are usually last minute decisions, and therefore don’t encompass the entirety of the changes that you will benefit from. Take some time to think about what things will affect the most positive change in your life. Don’t begin your resolutions with the phrase: “I will never…”.
While you keep the above 10 steps in mind, it is important to realize that there will be stumbling blocks. One way to help you be proactive about obstacles is to keep track of your progress. This way you will see which strategies led to success and which ones did not. Throughout the process, it’s important to remember that the start of a new year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes, but rather to reflect on past behaviors and resolve to make positive lifestyle modifications.