After the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, millions of people begin struggling with keeping a New Year’s resolution. For many, this only leads to disappointment when the resolution is broken. Lifestyle changes, even small ones, can be very difficult, but it’s possible to keep your New Year’s Resolution well into next year. When the novelty of a resolution wears off, here’s how to stick to it.
The more specific your resolution is, the more likely it is that you will keep it. Don’t resolve to lose weight. Instead, resolve to exercise three times a week, eat more vegetables, or eliminate your morning latte.
Instead of resolving to be happier or have more fun, resolve to go out once a week, read a new book, or make one new friend. When your resolution is specific, it’s easy to build on it to create healthier lifestyle choices. You’re also better able to track your progress without losing sight of your goal.
If you’ve resolved to do something difficult like quit smoking, get a promotion, or get into graduate school, break your resolution down into smaller steps. Set a small goal for each week or month that will bring you closer to your goal.
You’re much more likely to keep your resolution if you have support. Consider joining up with someone who has a similar resolution or enlisting the assistance of your spouse and kids to keep you honest. If you want to lose weight, ask your friends and family to avoid pressuring you into eating sweets. If you’re quitting smoking, make sure everyone knows to encourage you not to smoke.
Difficult resolutions often result in temporary setbacks. You might give in and smoke that cigarette or eat a box of oreos in a moment of stress. Don’t give up when you experience temporary weakness in your will. Instead, reward yourself for your successes and chart your progress.
Remind yourself that no one is perfect and that even easy resolutions can be difficult to keep sometimes. Remember that a lifestyle change is not made or broken based upon one moment of weakness, and failing at your resolution one day doesn’t mean you can’t get up and be successful the next day.
Many New Year’s resolutions require extra time. If you want to spend more time with friends, walk your dog every day or exercise, you’ll need to carve out some time in your day. Eliminate distractions such as internet browsing, oversleeping and television and you’ll be more likely to achieve your goals.