The holidays are over, the new year has well and truly set in, and many of us are already feeling overwhelmed with all the resolutions we ambitiously set back in December. That gym membership we signed up for now seems extremely daunting, and do we really see ourselves mastering the art of French cooking in just one year? While it might be easy to throw in the towel already, don’t give up hope just yet! We have five tips on how to both make and keep your new year’s resolutions, and get on track to a healthier, happier you.
It’s all well and good to say ‘I’m going to save more money this year,’ but without setting concrete parameters, you’re simply setting yourself up for disappointment. Rather than aiming towards a vague goal, break it down into specific, achievable targets – a certain amount of money each week, for instance – that will keep you focused on what you have to do to succeed. That way, each time you meet a smaller goal along the way, you’ll feel more motivated to keep going.
Vowing to change your entire life all at once is simply an impossible task, one that will leave you feeling at a loss of where and how to even begin. Instead of trying to tackle everything simultaneously, pick one area you’d like to work on – exercising more to get in shape, for example – and focus all your energy on that. Once you know exactly what you’re aiming for, and you find that you’ve stuck with it for a few months, you can start introducing other goals as well, such as eating well, or graduating to a more intense form of exercise.
We are more likely to stick to our resolutions when we know that the people we love are rooting for us. When our friends and family hold us accountable, it’s harder to back out of our promises to ourselves. So let your loved ones know that you’re serious about your goal this year, and ask them for support to help keep you on track. Your best friend might sign up for an exercise class with you, for instance, or your spouse can promise not to bring home tempting sweets anymore.
When you first start working towards your goal, it’s easy to feel discouraged when the endgame appears to be so far away. That’s why it’s important to recognize and reward small successes along the way. Treat yourself to a mani-pedi after your first week of healthy eating, or to a massage after you’ve completed your first long run, and space out the rewards to a monthly basis as you progress even further. It will give you something to look forward to and will make you feel satisfied to have earned it.
Somewhere down the line, you may find yourself backtracking. Maybe you snuck a cigarette after vowing to give up smoking, or you skipped on the gym twice in one week. Don’t beat yourself up over this. In fact, having a lapse is common, especially during the challenging first couple of months. What really matters is that you don’t let this derail you. Acknowledge the misstep, learn from it, and get right back on track. Perseverance really is the key to success, so just try again, keep trying, and you’ll be sure to get there eventually!