Are you planning on ringing in 2020 – a new decade – with a new resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, have a more positive attitude towards life? Perhaps these resolutions sound familiar. Maybe they are the same ones that you have been making for the past few years and not stuck to them.
How can you make sure that 2020 is the year that you are going to stick to your resolutions finally? How wonderful would it be to get to the end of 2020 and be able to tick them off, and not have to make the same resolution year after year, without making any real progress?
Establishing new habits takes time and energy, and it will not happen overnight. If it did, there would not be so many of us struggling with resolutions. However, you will start to see the benefits fairly quickly. You will soon notice them taking shape when it does not feel quite right if you stop or do not do it that day. That is a great incentive to continue! However, if you need a little more help sticking to them, carry on reading because here, we are going to look at a few of the things that you can do to make 2020 the year that you stick to your resolutions.
“If you can dream it, you can do it” Walt Disney.
When it comes to your dreams, go in big. Of course, they need to be realistic and achievable, but that does not have to stop them from being big. An audacious resolution can be compelling! Ambitious aims can encourage and inspire others, and that can be a huge motivation factor for you as well. You might want to compete in that triathlon, get an MSN at Bradley University, lose 50lbs, start up a business, travel to that far-flung country. Whatever it is, as long as it is achievable in the time frame that you are giving yourself, go for it!
Break It down into Achievable Chunks
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs” Henry Ford.
Now you know what you want to achieve, break it down into further, smaller chunks. Let us take the weight loss one as an example, as it is one of the most common resolutions that people make. If you want to lose 50lbs over two years, that’s a pretty big goal. Achievable, but big, nevertheless. That can be a little daunting to take on in one go, so now is the point to break it down into smaller chunks. You may, for example, say that you are going to lost 15lbs by next summer, and then a further 10lbs before Christmas next year. When you hit each of these mini targets, reward yourself. This leads us on to our next point.
Write Them Down
“If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal; you have a wish.” Steve Maraboli
Studies have shown that writing down our goals, dreams, and aspirations increase the likelihood of us achieving them. Hold yourself accountable by putting pen to paper. To support your success, make sure that your resolutions are attainable and measurable, set realistic expectations, and create a clear plan or path to support them.
“There is nothing more rewarding than completing a goal that you have set yourself.” Jerry Seinfield
As humans, we are naturally motivated by rewards. Sometimes, we are motivated to act because of internal desires and wishes, but at other times, our behaviours are driven by a want for external rewards. When we know there is something waiting for us; we are much more likely to stick to them. Taking the weight loss example – if you plan to buy a fabulous new outfit or pair of shoes, or treat yourself to a spa day when you hit each of the smaller targets, you will stay on track.
“Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” Misty Copeland
Support is essential if you want to be successful. Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, there is no harm in seeking professional help. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable, as well as help you change any of your unhealthy behaviours and address any emotional issues that may be holding you back.
Get an Accountability Partner
“Accountability is the glue that bonds commitment to results.” Will Craig
In the same vein as the point above, get yourself a partner that not only supports you but that holds you accountable. Research has shown us that if you take an idea out of your head and articulate a goal to someone else, you are much more likely to achieve it. Having an accountability partner to share how things are going toward your goal helps a person focus on the outcome.
Do Not Beat Yourself up If You Fall off the Wagon
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
We are always going to have days where we feel like we are failing. The cookie jar seems too tempting; those shoes are too irresistible, that extra hour of sleep is more attractive than the workout. Bad days happen, and it is important that when they do happen, you draw a line under them and start the next day afresh. A bad day does not have to signify the end of the journey – it is just a bump in the road.
Hopefully, these tips will make sticking to your new year’s resolutions much more likely this year. Good luck!