In many countries around the world, the arrival of January each year ushers in a plethora of “new.” New goals, big changes, and a different year to remember each time you write the date. (Let’s face it, I’ll still be writing “2019” until March at the earliest.) As people welcome the new year with celebrations and look forward to the year ahead, they also take time to reflect on the previous year. When considering habits, decisions, or mistakes from the year before, many people resolve to be better in the future. This reflection is where we get the idea of New Year’s resolutions.
Although the new year is celebrated at different times in different cultures, the concept of New Year’s resolutions has existed for thousands of years. However, despite their longevity and popularity, New Year’s resolutions are rarely successful. The majority of people who make resolutions abandon their goals by February or March. I know I’m guilty of setting a lofty resolution that only lasts a short while into the new year, and it leaves me feeling defeated – but resolved to try again next January.
We’re only a few days into the year 2020, still in the early stages of our New Year’s resolutions. Before the momentum of new goals fizzles out or other priorities start to take precedence over resolutions, I want to share a few tips that might help as you work toward a new goal this year.
1. Work on one resolution at a time
According to the American Psychological Association, making a big, bold change at the beginning of the year might not be the best idea. Rather than trying to change several habits or behaviors at once, focus on one thing at a time. You have an entire year to implement positive changes in your life. Don’t feel pressured to do it all at once! Be specific and break larger goals into smaller pieces that are more attainable. Once you feel like you’re making better habits and meeting certain goals, you can move on to focus on other aspects throughout the year.
2. Ask for help
Accountability is a major game-changer when it comes to following through on goals. To help yourself stay on track, tell friends about your resolutions or work together with others who have similar goals. Create a support system of people who will listen to both your struggles and your successes. Having people to talk to about your progress will help you stay accountable to yourself as you work toward your resolutions. You may even inspire a friend to make a positive change.
3. Be patient with yourself
Making lifestyle changes – or any kind of changes – is not an easy task. When you fall behind or revert back to old habits, take a step back to look at how far you’ve come. Try not to be too hard on yourself if and when you make a mistake. Instead, assess what may have caused you to misstep so that you can avoid the same situation in the future. Nobody’s perfect – remember that change is a process requiring dedication and perseverance, not perfection.
Whether it’s reading more, spending less, learning something new or just taking better care of yourself, I hope these tips help you to stick with your goals, even when it’s tough. Best of luck with whatever your New Year’s resolutions are this year!