How to Make a New Year’s Resolution Stick:
I’m the type of person who likes to go big every time we begin a new year, setting seemingly “impossible” goals, and working my ways towards achieving them. This strategy is great when it works out, because as the famous quote from Norman Vincent Peale says, “Shoot for the moon- even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” However, as we know, it often doesn’t happen that way! Lots of resolutions and good intentions fall apart throughout the year, due to life and its complicated circumstances. However, over the years I’ve come up with a list of three things that help me to overcome the odds and achieve the goals I lay out at the turn of the new year:
- Start small.
I’m starting here because if you don’t get this one right, the next two suggestions don’t matter! If I’m going to falter on a goal for a new year, it almost always comes back to biting off more than I can chew. At times it may feel insignificant to create a goal that seems measly to you or someone else. One of my goals every year usually relates to reading. I enjoy reading, but I never seem to do it as often as I would like. In the past, I would make a goal along the lines of “read one book per month.” That doesn’t seem like much, does it? Well, it didn’t to me either, until I would get to the last couple days of a month and realize I hadn’t read any of my book for that month. Then, I would fall behind and start to lose motivation to continue on with that goal for the remainder of the year. What I have found works better than that is to start very small. Instead of reading one book a month, I focused on reading five minutes per day. Five minutes is nothing, and even at my busiest, that was something I could do. It sounds almost embarrassing to have such a miniscule goal, but what happens in starting small is that you begin to create good habits. Instead of trying to cram a book at the end of the month, you become someone who reads every day. And those little habits pay off much more in the long-term. So, start small.
- Play to your strengths.
When it comes to setting goals, it’s important to be motivated for what you’re going after. If you decide that you want to lose weight in 2023, there are more than one way to go about it. For instance, you could either exercise more frequently or changing your eating habits. If you’ve been notoriously bad at following an eating plan in the past, it’s likely to be unsustainable this time as well. In that case, try to incorporate more exercise into your life instead of making big changes to how you eat. Conversely, if exercising doesn’t make you happy, then you can try to eat a little healthier and remove some things from your diet that aren’t benefitting your well-being. The point is this: we are all different and we all have our own preferences, so the best way to set yourself up for success is knowing which method you are most likely to sustain throughout the year. There is no one way to do it.
- Say “no” more often.
I’ve come to realize that the success of many of the goals I set out to achieve rest in the hands of how I manage my time. Seems straightforward, but ultimately it comes down to what you prioritize the most. If you set your goals at the beginning of the year and then make an effort to include those goals in your schedule, great things are likely to happen. For me, one of the biggest things I focus on every year is saying “no” more often. It’s a funny concept because I’ve often told people that saying “yes” to opportunities in my life has opened the most doors for me. And I still feel that’s true! But when it comes down to everyday life, you just have to say “no” to some things in order to create the time you need to be successful in your pursuits. It doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with family and friends or you will miss out on all social experiences- it just means that the occasional “thanks for the offer, but not this time” will go a long way in shaping the success of your resolutions!
A new year always represents so much hope and excitement. Hope to make changes in our lives that bring us more happiness, and excitement to spend time doing the things we love with the people we love. In 2023, let’s chase some big goals that bring us happiness and improve our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. I’ll cheers to that!