It’s a new year and many of us have taken this fresh start as an opportunity to set new goals for ourselves. I love setting goals—I need them to help me feel like I’m living intentionally. Goals and resolutions aren’t just a thing to do at the beginning of the year, although that’s a great time to start! Actually, I’m a big proponent of starting a goal immediately when you’re thinking of it. No need to wait for the new year, new month, or even the new week. Start today! Here are some strategies I use to stick to my New Year’s resolutions (or any time of the year).
1. Limit yourself to no more than five New Year’s resolutions. I know a big list can be fun to sit down and create, but try to keep it to five main things. Once you’ve got those handled, then you can add more.
2. Categorize them. Organizing them and categorizing them will help them seem more manageable and less overwhelming. I try to stick to categories like: personal, work, education, health, relational, etc. Try not to get too many in one category. This can help you with sticking to them. Again, if you have a lot for one category, break it down. Start with just one thing and once that has become a habit or has been accomplished move on to the next one.
3. Break down your resolutions by setting smaller goals within each one. For example, if your goal is to ‘get in shape’ break that down. Start by setting a goal to work out twice a week for 30 minutes, and then adding another workout or 30 more minutes to your workout in a few weeks, once workouts have become a part of your daily life. Or you can set a goal to eat a healthy breakfast or incorporate five fruits and veggies into your daily food intake. This way, you have set tangible goals that will help you accomplish your big, more ambiguous goal of ‘getting in shape.’
4. Put your list of five resolutions somewhere you can see them often. You can even put them in multiple places like your bathroom mirror, closet door, a sticky note attached to your computer screen, inside your monthly planner, or as your phone wallpaper. This way, your goals are always in sight, reminding you to stick to them daily.
5. Find accountability. Telling someone else is a powerful tool. Find someone who believes in you and wants the best for you. Ask them to keep you accountable by checking in on you and seeing how you’re doing with some of the specific ways you’ve broken down your goals. (#3) Some people find accountability to work for them because they don’t want others to know they’ve given up. If that’s you, use that to your advantage!
6. Figure out how to involve someone else. If you know someone with a similar goal, see if they want to join you in some of your goals. One of my friends brilliantly decided to FaceTime with her sister every morning while they both do the same workout video! Sometimes they help each other wake up for the early workout and it has proven to be a fun way to enjoy the workout with someone else!
7. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall back into old ways. There’s a reason you haven’t accomplished these goals yet. It will take time and a change in your patterns, thinking, and habits. Give yourself some grace. It’s ok if you mess up or fall back into your old ways sometimes, just…
8. Don’t give up! Think of how great it will feel when these goals are accomplished! Visualize your life when the results of these goals are part of your daily life. Change can be difficult, but it will be worth it!
9. Keep track of your progress. This is key to helping with #8. Keep track of how far you’ve come. Write down your progress, the little wins you’ve had along the way. This will serve as small reminders to yourself of how hard you’re working, how far you’ve come, and how much you truly can accomplish when you put your mind to something. Be proud of yourself!
10. Celebrate little milestones. Those things you’ve been writing down from #9, celebrate them! Find a way to reward yourself for your progress. You are doing big things in these little accomplishments. You are changing the paths of your brain when you change your habits! That’s incredible! Celebrate with some ‘me time,’ do your nails, read a fun magazine or blog, buy yourself a new lipstick, go get a yummy coffee or smoothie! Find what works for you and do something fun to celebrate yourself.
Good luck! I can’t wait to hear about all the goals you’ve set and how you’re sticking to your New Year’s resolutions!