It’s that time of year again: time for New Year’s resolutions. We all make them and we’re all frequently disappointed with our inability to stick with them beyond January. The good news is that there are a few things we can do to maximize our chances for success. The better news is that even what may seem impossible is likely achievable. Here are five tips I hope will help you. Happy New Year!
1. Pick no more than three
As they say, “if everything is important, nothing is important.” If you want to really make a difference, focus your time and energy on one to three key resolutions that truly matter to you.
2. Pick daily habits that lead to goals and not the goal itself
The most effective resolutions are those that require a relatively small change of habit but that occur on a daily basis. For example, setting a goal of “losing 10 pounds this year” is not defining a habit; however, “exercise for no less than 30 minutes every weekday” is creating a regular habit that ultimately leads to the the goal of weight loss. Read “Happenstance & Habits” for more information on the importance of habits.
3. Find a partner who shares your goal
It’s hard to skip that daily exercise commitment when you have a partner counting on you to join him or her. With a shared goal, partners create mutual support and encouragement.
4. Share your resolutions with close friends & family
It’s tough to beat the accountability you create by announcing your commitments to those close to you. Social networks make this process a little too easy these days. Let your friends know that you’re committing to a new routine and keep them updated on your progress every now and then. You’ll be surprised how effective this is!
5. Reward yourself for regularly for making progress
It’s important to get regular rewards no matter how small for your success. It could be as simple as a small treat nightly for each day of successfully maintaining the habit; it could also include a monthly or quarterly reward of something larger: a mid-year trip for having maintained the habit, for example! Rewards work well, especially when you combine regular small rewards with a bigger milestone rewards!