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Tips for Actually Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

January 2, 2020
Published in: General

Closeup of a January calendar

"Easier said than done" is a well-known phrase for a reason. We all like to imagine healthier, better-organized, more motivated versions of ourselves, but when it comes time to do the work, it's tough to stay determined. The beginning of a new year is an exciting time full of fresh starts and good intentions. If your New Year includes making some New Year's Resolutions, here are a few tips to help keep you on track!

1. Make them early

Get ready, get set… GO! You wouldn't start a race without first getting "ready" and "set," so tackle your New Year's resolutions with preparation too! Know what you want to accomplish, and get mentally prepared to hit the ground running before the new year catches you off guard.

2. Write them down

Woman on the couch writing in a notebookOrganize and visualize your resolutions. Writing down your goals makes them that much closer to reality! Make a list that you can look back at all year or sticky-note reminders to keep you on track.

3. Make them manageable

Don't be afraid to take on ambitious resolutions, but don't fail before you start by choosing something completely impossible. Be honest with yourself, and choose something that can be accomplished in one year.

"Lose 25 pounds" or "clear the whole garage of clutter" can be daunting tasks to consider. "Lose 1 pound this week" or "donate one bag of clothes" is much easier to think about. Take your big resolutions in steps! You have a whole year to accomplish your goal, so don't sabotage yourself by rushing too much.

4. Keep at it

There's a reason why gym parking lots are overflowing the first week of January and are much quieter in March. After the initial push in January, it's easy to lose steam. Distractions, excuses, and failures often try to drown your initial enthusiasm as the year moves on, so build a habit you can keep going!

Try to get a streak going that you can feel good about. If your resolution becomes part of your routine, you're more likely to stay determined.

5. Don't let failure keep you down

If you break your streak, though, don't give up! When you fail, get back up immediately. Don't make excuses to let yourself lapse-- one failure won't end your goals, but letting that one failure drag on into more and more time off-track definitely will.

Group of friends at the gymNobody's perfect, so don't let missing a day at the gym, a late pile of laundry, or one too many cupcakes ruin your plan for the whole year.

6. Make it easier

Your resolutions might not be easy, but nobody says you have to make them harder on yourself. Humans can't run on pure willpower 24/7, so get creative! Thinking of ways to help yourself make the right choices will give you a big boost.

Avoid leaving temptations lying around if you want to eat better. Put the junk food away or skip the snack aisle altogether. Schedule tasks for times when you are more energetic and don't plan to hit the gym right when you know your favorite show comes on. You may also have to schedule things so you can't back out later to help your future self stick to your resolutions.

Perhaps the single best strategy is teamwork! Working with someone else toward the same goal or as an accountability partner will push you both to succeed.

7. Celebrate success

Record your results so you can see how far you've come! After all your hard work, you don't want to cheat yourself of feeling accomplished. Being able to look back and track your progress can help you keep going through the rough patches, and it lets you enjoy your well-deserved victories.