In a flurry of anticipation for the new year, many of us make a list of what we hope to accomplish in the next year. However, a few weeks into it, and many of us lose motivation for one reason another. A year is a long time, and to keep that accountability for so long is quite a task, so it's no wonder we lose steam early on. This year, though, you have another opportunity to not only make resolutions but also stick to them. The following 7 tips to keeping your New Year's resolutions outline how to keep yourself responsible...to yourself!
1. Be Realistic
This is self-explanatory. There is nothing wrong with having grand ambition for the new year, but don't overestimate yourself. If you know you can do it, then that's great. However, if there is too much standing in the way between you and your New Year's resolution, such as time constraints, geography, or finances, then it might be a good idea to rethink it. Focus on what you know you can do if you put in the effort, not what you could do if your life were entirely different.
2. Be Specific, But Not Too Specific
I catch myself making this mistake of being to general, all the time. For the new year, I resolve to "be a better sister" or to "give back to the community", without giving myself an example of how I can do those things. Instead of making general goals for yourself, give yourself a very practical goal, such as "help my sister out with proofreading her college application essays" or "volunteer two times per week at the local shelter". These should be items you can track -- a number, or something tangible to work with. This way, you can keep yourself accountable and resolutions don't fall to the sidelines for being too theoretical. In this same vein, if you get too specific, you might disappoint yourself. You could find yourself getting to caught up in the details while losing sight of the intention and end goal.
3. Write Them Down
Don't just vocalize your resolutions, write them down! If you have more than one or two goals, you risk forgetting what you plan to accomplish. If a list doesn't cut it, make a visual dream board that reminds you of where you see yourself by year's end. Another way to document your New Year's resolutions is to write them down on post-it notes and then stick them where they are most applicable. A professional goal could be posted on the edge of your computer screen at work. Meanwhile, a weight-loss resolution could be posted on the bathroom scale. Wherever you know you'll see the post-it, post it -- on the refrigerator, cabinets, mirrors, bed-side table, etc.
4. Tell Others and Buddy Up
It helps to stay committed to your resolutions if you let someone you trust in on your intentions. This way, they can help motivate you whenever you feel unmotivated and disheartened. You can even go as far as joining forces with a friend who has the same resolution. The two (or more!) of you can do resolution-loyal activities together, whatever it may be, or call each other regularly to report on progress.
5. Keep Track
Aside from writing down your resolutions in the first place, keep a journal or a personal blog that records your progress. By doing this, you are able to see where you are doing well and where you may need to change things up for the better.
6. Have Short-Term Benchmarks
Instead of approaching your resolutions with a year-long focus, give yourself benchmarks along the way, perhaps for each month. This allows you to stay motivated in the thick of the year without the far-away, intangible-feeling goal looming over your head. It's easy to drop a resolution when you feel no end in sight. A month is far shorter, and each month along the way can act as a stepping stone to the ultimate goal.
7. Reward Yourself
With each accomplishment along the way or at each benchmark, reward yourself. You deserve it! And what better motivation than an expected reward?
Photo Credit: Amiodovalerio Verde
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