Happy New Year! Many of us make the ever popular “New Years Resolution”, but how do we go from stating our goal to making it happen? Here are all my tips for how to keep your New Years Resolution!
1. Choose attainable goals.
This is an important first step to any successful New Years Resolution: it has to be doable! Think about your goal(s) in the context of the next 365 days, and keep in mind that long-term goals such as five or even ten year goals should be broken down in order to create a smaller goal that will help get you to that larger goal.
For example, if you just started blogging, don’t have a resolution of “reach 100K followers on Instagram” in a year. It’s not realistic and will only lead to disappointment. If, on the other hand, it is a goal that is manageable within that time frame (not necessarily “easy peasy”, but attainable), you will be able to work hard to accomplish that task and feel so accomplished when you get it done under that December 31st deadline!
2. Break down your New Years resolution into steps.
After you’ve chosen an attainable goal, it can still be difficult to keep your New Years resolutions because it might still seem daunting! Alternatively, some goals might be easy to “put off” until a later date, leading to procrastination and eventual failure come December.
Combat these two forces by breaking your New Years resolution into concrete steps that can be more easily digested and managed. For example, if my goal was to cook more healthy meals this year, my steps might be:
- locate and read books or blogs about healthier meals and recipes
- educate myself about different components of a diet (fats, carbs, sugars, etc.)
- start cooking healthier by substituting one or two unhealthy ingredients for healthier ingredients based on this previous research
- gradually incorporate healthy meals into my weekly meal plan (i.e. one per week, two per week, three per week, etc.) throughout the year
- go one step further by substituting out unhealthy snacks or desserts for other healthier choices
Because each step can be done within a month or a few weeks, it makes it easier to stick to your game plan. You could also put mini-deadlines throughout the year for each step, for example, set a January goal of locating materials about healthy eating, and set a February goal to read through those materials before starting to incorporate what you’ve learned in March.
3. Check your progress on a quarterly basis.
Another step you can do to help you keep your New Years resolutions is to schedule quarterly checks on your progress every three months. You could write these directly in whichever calendar app you use on your computer or phone, or even a paper calendar. At each 3-month mark, take a look at your goal and assess how far you’ve come, if you’re still on track, and if any adjustments need to be made. Which brings me to my fourth tip…
4. Don’t be afraid to change steps if they aren’t working.
It’s important to have some flexibility and be able to modify your plan, steps, or overall goal if necessary. For example, if we return to the example resolution of “cook more healthy meals this year,” let’s say it was July and I still had not started cooking healthier, even though I had read through a lot of blogs and books about how to eat healthier. I might take a step back and determine that my busier work schedule this year is making it hard to keep up with this resolution.
What are some other steps I could do instead? I might try hiring a nutrition or cooking consultant to help me incorporate these healthier meals into my everyday routine, or I might try a healthy meal subscription service to start off. Whatever your resolution, brainstorming other steps partway through the year that might help you achieve that goal via another pathway is a good step to take if necessary.
5. Have accountability through shared goals.
This can be so helpful! Having accountability can be a huge motivator for goal fulfillment. This could be that you create a shared goal with your significant other, such as “teaching our kids basic financial skills” or “working out regularly.” But it could also mean that you and your significant other make separate, potentially unrelated goals, but work together to help each other achieve them by that December 31 deadline! Some tips that can help include sitting down together to talk about and write out your goals, and then having your quarterly meetings together to discuss and brainstorm how you can work to further meet your goals.
Now it’s your turn! What is your New Years resolution this year and how to you plan to keep it? Share with me in the comments below!