On New Year’s Eve, many gather with friends and family to raise their bubbling glasses into the air, shout Hooray! as the ball drops, and bask in colorful confetti for the rest of the night. It’s truly an extraordinary event—some may even say it’s their favorite holiday. But once all the glitz and glam is through with, and the new year is officially underway, it’s time to face the music: otherwise known as New Year’s resolutions.
Oftentimes, people start off with a positive attitude about their resolutions and an unequivocal amount of motivation; they’re ready and excited to tackle those goals! A few months or even weeks down the line, however, they’ve completely discarded any and all of said resolutions. This is how it typically goes… but not this year! Because we’re here to help. Follow these seven tips for setting attainable New Year’s resolutions and actually achieving them:
1) Start small.
Don’t hinder yourself from the get-go by setting unrealistic goals or expectations for yourself. Instead, make resolutions that you know you can actually achieve. Consider the following example: Stan wants to lose weight, so he cuts out all of his favorite fatty foods—potato chips, ice cream, and cookies. This isn’t a great approach because Stan is likely to give in and indulge in some chips or cookies here and there—hence, he fails. If he instead started small by having just one dessert a week or one serving of potato chips every few days, he’s more likely to succeed at his goal and stay at it.
2) Define and understand your goals.
It is important that you also define and understand your New Year’s resolutions; avoid vague concepts or terminology, which work against you. For example, a common resolution is to make the new year “the best year yet!” Now, what exactly does that mean? What pans out to be the best year yet? In this case, think about what exactly will make your new year a great one. Do you hope to get a promotion? Do you hope to shed a few pounds or get back into working out? Break it down into specific, measurable goals.
3) Keep yourself accountable.
A major key to staying on top of your New Year’s resolutions is keeping yourself accountable. So, come up with a foolproof way to record your journey and keep track of your progress—not only will these points serve as a source of motivation, but they’ll show just how hard you’ve worked and how far you’ve come. Journaling may do the trick, as will updating a calendar with progress reports. There are plenty of ways to keep yourself accountable, you just have to find the strategies that work for you!
4) Be patient.
Most New Year’s resolutions—or any goals for that matter—can’t be achieved within days or even weeks of setting them. Instead, it takes an indeterminate amount of time to put in the required work and yield the desired results. Furthermore, progress varies from person to person: two individuals may commit to the same intervention, but observe different results. This can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that no two people are the same. All you can do is trust the process and, in turn, set yourself up for success!
5) Ask for help.
Have a friend you know could help reach your goals? Or someone who might help motivate you? Keep you accountable? Don’t be afraid to reach out to said people for help! I guarantee that your loved ones would love to play a part in you reaching those amazing goals. As would trainers, counselors, teachers, and others who dedicate their lives to helping others grow. So, swallow that fear and ask for help. You’ll be so glad you did.
6) Remind yourself “why.”
On the days that you’re really struggling to take that step toward achieving your New Year’s resolutions—whether it’s making it to that workout class, putting in an extra hour at work, or studying for that test—remind yourself “why.” Why’d you set these goals in the first place? Why are you so determined to achieve them? What do the end results look like? It will be difficult but remember: It’s all worth it.
7) Accept that everyone makes mistakes.
So even after assuring yourself that this whole journey is worth it… you fail: you don’t make it to that workout class; you leave work early; you fail the test you knew you should have studied for. You’re probably expecting a reprimand and a punishment, but I only have one thing to say—it’s okay! An essential to actually achieving your New Year’s resolutions is understanding that everyone makes mistakes. You’ll likely experience setbacks, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your resolutions. Instead, use it as motivation to work even harder moving forward!