Making Resolutions and Sticking to Them

January 12, 2018

It is the second week of 2018 and that means two weeks of potential productivity. Often the first of the new year is seen as a time to make a fresh start. The symbolic changing of the calendar also seems to signify a changing of habits – habits that you may have been telling yourself that you will “start tomorrow” for a long time. But for those of us who have set a New Year’s Resolution, it is often harder than it seems. Here are the things that most often deter people from continuing their “New year, new me” habits, and the actions that can be taken to make it easier.

1. Be realistic

This doesn’t mean you should set your goals low. It means that starting small and working your way up is an effective way of reaching your ultimate goals. If you haven’t seen running shoes since 2016, chances are you won’t be running five miles a day on the first day of the year. Redefine what success will be for you, and do that.

2. Care about it

It takes energy to create new habits, and it’s a lot easier to give energy towards something you care about. If you find your motivation dwindling, ask yourself why you are working towards the goal you are. The only goals worth pursuing are the ones that you are doing for you.

3. Balance, balance, balance

No matter how hard we wish it to be true, there really is no way to add more hours to the day. If your goal is to spend more time doing x (being at the gym, with family, or meditating, for example) then your goal must also include spending less time doing y. Determine your priorities and balance your time accordingly. Picking up a new habit doesn’t mean you have to eliminate another, but expecting to maintain your current schedule may not be advantageous.

4. Allow time

It takes roughly two months to make a new habit automatic. That differs based on the person and the complexity of the new habit, but that’s a good point to start with. Change takes time. Set a time to check-in with yourself and reflect on what you did change and what you want to change in the future.

5. Forgive

“Ah man, it’s the second week of January and I already messed up!” If you are still committed to your goal, your response to this should not be to give up and try again next year. Recognize what happened and what you want to do differently, and start again.

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