There is nothing magic about a new year that will help you stick to your goals if you aren’t dedicated to reaching them. If you reluctantly make resolutions because everyone else is then you probably won’t give it much effort and it might make you feel you’ve failed yourself. That’s not a good way to get started with a new habit, whether it’s a new year or any other time of year. You have to want to do it. Making New Year’s resolutions can be a fun tradition to help get you started with new ideas for yourself, but it’s up to you if you see them through or not. Here are some tips to help make this New Year’s resolution easier to stick with than the last.
- Make your own resolutions and don’t compare yourself to others. It doesn’t matter if your friends are going to the gym, giving up sugar, or moving to France. Those are their goals, they don’t have to be yours. Consider what’s important to you and where you want to be a year from now and go from there. If you’re doing something with a friend and not doing as good as they are in your eyes, it doesn’t matter. Keep going and focusing on your results; not your friend’s results. Everyone’s journey in life is different. “Comparison is the thief of joy.”-Theodore Roosevelt
- Make resolutions for only a month at a time. A friend, Jessica Q., said that she makes resolutions for a month at a time. She says, “A month is long enough to establish a habit if it’s one that’s going to work for you”. Four weeks isn’t as overwhelming as telling yourself you’re going to give something 100% effort for an entire year. Try a month and see how it works out. If you find that you’re not that invested in it, try something new for month two!
- Set more attainable goals. Big dreams come from setting small goals. There are very few people who can give 100% of themselves to something new for an entire year. Sure, some things that come up are excuses you tell yourself, but not everything is always in your control. Weight-loss is a good example of people setting goals that might be out-of-reach. People will say they want to lose 50 pounds in the upcoming year which may or may not be attainable for them. It’s easier to have the goal of ‘becoming healthier’. There’s less pressure that way. This works for other areas of your life, too. If you want to travel more, set a smaller goal of putting money aside from each paycheck into a travel fund. If you want to land a better job or further your career, take courses, read more books on your field, network, and put yourself out there more instead of only sending out your resume and hoping for the best.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin. This also goes along with setting attainable goals. It will be a little more difficult to stick to your plan if you decided you want to have five New Year’s resolutions instead of one or two. If you try doing five new things at once you could be setting yourself up to be unsuccessful, depending on what they are. You may find you don’t have time or money to do them all, or you might get overwhelmed and want to give up because you can’t deal with so much at the same time. Choosing the most important one is a great place to start. Then when you’ve successfully made that one a habit, start another, and so on.
- Falling doesn’t mean failing. If you really want to reach a goal but you keep slipping, keep trying anyway. Push yourself harder, ask for advice, follow people who are examples of what you want to be, and do whatever it takes if it’s something that’s really important to you. It might take you longer than a year but don’t put a time constraint on your dreams. Don’t be afraid to start over. You might not have been completely ready when you first began, or you might need a new plan. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be ready and won’t reach it. Go back to the drawing board and try again.
- Don’t make New Year’s resolutions. If you just make resolutions because everyone else is and you don’t have any particular goal right now, don’t make one. It’s that simple. There’s no need to put pressure on yourself if you don’t need to. If you’re content in life or just don’t feel like tackling anything new, don’t. I mentioned that I don’t make resolutions because I don’t like to put off things I could start now just because it’s a new year, so you could do what I do and make changes when the mood strikes. It’s not always in January! Who cares if it’s July and you decide you want to go back to college, or if you missed the gym rush in January and decide to start exercising in April? Don’t stress about timing. Do what works best for you.