How to set New Year’s resolutions that you’ll keep
Today, being the day after Christmas marks the beginning of an end. 2018 is coming to a close, and although it’s important to look back and be thankful for the year, it’s equally important for us to look forward and set goals for the upcoming year. 2019 will be the year of finally achieving our New Year’s resolutions. This ultimate guide promises that.
Tip 1: Reflect personally
The first step to setting a good New Year’s resolution is to reflect on the past year and your habits. You know yourself the best, and only you can recognize the most meaningful aspects of your life. Once you identify those, you can start to set mindful goals. Most of us tend to base our goals on what other people suggest or what society imposes, out of fear or guilt, but these resolutions fail often. This year, seek relevant, personal goals that work for your lifestyle and find motivation from within.
Tip 1.1: Don’t do this last minute. Take some time to plan exactly how you’ll tackle those fitness goals or practice healthier habits.
Tip 2: Set one, specific goal
Instead of creating a laundry list of goals, stick to one SMART goal. This means setting a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal. You have to start somewhere, so don’t challenge yourself from the get-go. You’ll burn out. Rather, focus your energy on one goal that will benefit you in significant ways. Be realistic. What will improve your life? What’s one habit you want to change? Is it weight loss? Is it to quit smoking? Whatever it is, make a to-do list of things you might do to achieving that goal.
Tip 2:1: Change, especially new behavioral patterns, takes time. Be patient with yourself.
Tip 3: Plan your rewards
Increase your chances of succeeding by celebrating the little successes. Create a system of positive reinforcement when you have a great day, for instance, or when you’ve sustained a good habit for a whole week. Reward yourself with a sweet treat, a movie night, or anything that makes you happy. Each time you celebrate a small win, you’ll be motivated to continue and ultimately reach your endgame before you know it.
Tip 3.1: Mindfully choose your reward, making sure it doesn’t contradict your goal!
Tip 4: Find sources of inspiration
Having a good support system works to your advantage here. Though your goals are personal, achieving them might take a network of people to support, motivate, and love you. Start by sharing your resolutions and progress with family members, close friends, or suitemates at Common; they can help keep you on track. Who knows? Maybe you can even start a buddy system. If this isn’t realistic for you, then find a mentor. Consult people who live and breathe your goals.
Tip 4.1: For the most part, you’ll probably hate the process of reaching your goal. Try to find those little pockets of happiness, and elaborate on them.
Tip 5: Log your progress
Tracking your progress is key, so keep a journal or take pictures every day. You can check things off as you go, making your reward system easier to keep track of, and you can keep yourself accountable. Not only will this help visualize your overall improvements, but it will also help weed out habits that lead to failure. If you lose sight of your goals, you can turn to this log, find out what change needs to occur — whether it’s your strategy or the goal itself — and reset your mind.
Tip 5.1: Your journal from this year can serve you in the following year as you reflect on your successes and failures to realistically plan 2020 New Year’s resolutions.