Have you set New Year Resolutions in the past and failed? Have you promised yourself that this year is the year? Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to follow through with your New Year Resolutions? You may be biting off more than you can chew. You may be setting too broad of a goal, like “I want to be healthier next year,” without giving yourself set guidelines to reach your goal efficiently. Learn how to set and achieve your New Year Resolutions without becoming overwhelmed.
Set Concrete, Measurable New Year Resolutions
Your goal will be easier to achieve once you accurately define what exactly you want to accomplish. If your goal is “to become healthier”, then determine what “healthier” means to you. For example, being healthier could mean drinking more water and eating vegetables with every meal. By giving your goal a precise definition, it will make it easier for you to understand what you are precisely striving for.
Common New Year Resolutions made concrete:
- Become Healthier → I want to drink more water, eat 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables, exercise 3x/week, and cut down drinking to 1x/week
- I want to be happier → I want a better work/life balance where I see my friends at least 2x/week, I want to leave work at work, I want to practice gratitude
- I want to be cleaner → I want to organize my house, I want to dispose of the items I no longer use, and I want to do my laundry at least 1x/week
- Read more → I want to read one book each month, I want to read before bed every night, I want to read instead of being on social media
- Get good grades → I want to study more often, I want to take notes during class, I want to keep my phone in my bag so I can stay focused
Take Baby Steps
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. New Year Resolutions are typically set to progress you forward. Remember, the habits keeping you stuck in last year took time to develop. Be patient. You will make the changes you’re seeking. Ease yourself into the changes you want to see so that it won’t feel so overwhelming. By taking baby steps, you will begin to develop a habit, and you’ll be continuously accomplishing small goals along the way.
- Turning concrete long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals:
- Drinking more water → buy a reusable water container and set it on your desk
- Eat 2-3 more fruits and vegetables → substitute one unhealthy snack for a piece of fruit
- Exercise 3x/week → wake up and stretch each morning
- Cut drinking down to 1x/week → don’t bring alcohol into your home
Keep Track of Your Progress
Record your progress so that you can see how far you have come. Accomplishing little goals every day may not seem like a big deal, but when you can read the progress on paper, you will see how far you have come. By tracking your progress, you are reinforcing your goal-oriented behaviors.
- Growing your hair → measure your hair once a month
- Drinking water → write down how many bottles of water you drank every day
- Good grades → keep track of how you do on your graded assignments
Communicate With Others
Tell your friends and family about your new goals. By doing this, you will have more people to hold you accountable than just yourself. Spreading the word about your new goals will also make them feel like more than just wishful thinking. There will always be someone who can relate to you and who will root for your success.
- Study more → find a group of people to review with, go online or to your school to find a tutor
- Be healthy → go-to group workouts and make friends there
- Be Happier → reach out to your loved ones in person, online, or through text
Mistakes Will Happen
We’re all human, we all make mistakes. So don’t beat yourself up if you do something counterproductive. The fact that you are working to make a change in your life is an achievement in itself and should be celebrated. Every time you make a mistake, treat it as a lesson and continue to strive for your goal. Making long-term change is an uphill battle. Things will get difficult but you can continue to work on it without giving up.
We make New Year Resolutions because we want to get a fresh start and better our lives. Throughout the year, make sure you remind yourself why you made your goals in the first place. Personal growth is precious, and any amount of it should be considered a victory. Keep these tips in mind when you find yourself struggling to accomplish your resolutions. If you need extra support, don’t hesitate to call The Better You Institute at (267) 495-4951 to get help from a mental health professional in Philadelphia, PA.