As the year winds down, you’re likely making a list of things you'd like to change in the coming year. This is a common goal for many people. Unfortunately, it's also common for people to make New Year's Resolutions and fail to follow through. This year can be different though. This year can be the year that you finally take the bull by the horns and make lasting changes. Here are seven surefire strategies for sticking to your New Year's resolutions:
1. Choose Realistic New Year's Resolutions
Setting unrealistic goals for your resolutions is setting yourself up for failure. For example, if you'd like to lose weight, it's not wise to try to lose more than 1-2 pounds each week. Setting a resolution that you’re going to lose 50 lbs. by the end of January is not only unrealistic, it also would not be healthy. You'll get frustrated and give up if you set the bar too high when you're making your list of resolutions.
2. Pick Only the Most Important Goals
Yes, it would be nice to change twenty things about yourself in the next few months, but that's too much to take on. You'd be better off choosing one (or 2-3 max) specific goal instead of a long laundry list of things you want to change. If you can't pick just one area, try to focus on two or three things to change throughout the year instead of trying to cram as much change into twelve months as you possibly can. The most important thing to remember is that you're planning to win, not just making a list that looks good.
3. Get Specific When It Comes to Your Plan
What do you want to do? Throwing out a vague goal of getting into shape or exercising more isn’t specific enough. Set up a game plan. For instance, you'll want to create a resolution that is specific, like riding your exercise bike for thirty minutes a day, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Giving yourself too much wiggle room in specificity will set you up for failure.
4. Give Yourself a Deadline to Stay on Track
You'll have better chances of success if you have a time limit in mind with specific milestones you’re going to meet along the way. Perhaps you want to start off small and start cycling twice a week for 15 minutes to build up endurance. You'd set a definite start date for your fitness regimen, with your goal increasing incrementally throughout the year. By the end of the year, you might want to ride your bike four days a week for 30 minutes each day. Setting milestones and a deadline will push you to achieve the results you want because you'll realize you can't put things off until next week or next month.
5. Go Public with Your New Year's Resolutions
When you share your New Year's resolutions with other people, you're putting a little extra pressure on yourself to succeed. Don't worry, this is good pressure, as long as you're sharing your plan with positive, encouraging people. In fact, you can enlist some accountability buddies to help each other out in achieving success in the New Year. Success is always sweeter when it's shared.
6. Stay on Track with Resolutions by Measuring Your Progress
Now that you’ve set specific goals with milestones and shared them with accountability buddies, you need to follow through on measuring your success. Depending on your goal, you may want to measure your progress on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. You can use a calendar or planner to accomplish this. If you're feeling especially motivated, you can try using a spreadsheet to keep up with your achievements.
7. If at First, You Don't Succeed, Try, Try, Again
Don't feel like a failure if you have a few setbacks. The important thing is to deal with the problem and get back on track. It's paramount to keep trying even if things get hard or you hit a plateau. No one's perfect; There's going to be bumps in the road. You just have to stay determined and keep trying.
Don't let past mistakes prevent you from making positive changes in your life. Your New Year's resolutions don't have to fizzle in failure. Put these strategies into action to help achieve your goals. You have everything you need to stick to it and win in the end!