Every start of the new year many of us make attempts at new goals or resolutions. The new year gives us the fresh start we’ve been waiting for to pursue them. But seldom do many of us actually follow through. By the time April rolls around, we’ve given up. We may even start to think of resolutions as silly. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many practices we can implement to help us push through. Here are some ideas that will help you stick to your new year’s resolutions this year.
Make quitting not an option
I know, I know. That’s easier said than done. No one starts any goals or projects thinking we might quit along the way. Otherwise, what would be the point, right? But think about it, somewhere in your mind there must be the tiniest idea that somewhere down the line, you can always quit if it things get too hard, or results take too long to show. Otherwise, why would you allow yourself to quit? So, find that tiny whisper of a voice and firmly put your foot down whenever it starts to tell you to just go ahead and quit. Train yourself to say “No, I will keep going as far as I can.” You’ll see how much farther you get when you make it an active mindset to not quit.
Give yourself a fixed start date and stick to it. Don’t say “I’ll start on January 1st” and then when the day arrives change it to January 3rd. The moment you allow yourself to postpone your start, you open the door to keep pushing the date further and further away. Give yourself a realistic start date. If you know January 1st you’ll still be recovering from the New Year’s celebrations then decide to start at a different date and stick to it. No excuses.
Set realistic goals
This means that you should make sure you’ve set out to achieve goals that you have the means of achieving. Don’t tell yourself you want to become an astronaut by 2020 when you only possess a degree in English literature, because that’s just not going to happen. If becoming an astronaut is a dream of yours then start by enrolling in some classes that will lead you into that path. If your goal is a bit simpler than becoming an astronaut, say like losing weight, don’t make it a goal to lose 100 pounds in one month because that’s just not realistic, it would also be super unhealthy. Saying you’ll try to lose 3 pounds a week is a lot more doable and achievable.
Work on your goals even when you don’t feel like it
There will be days when you don’t feel like working on your goals or resolutions. But if you’re always taking breaks because you don’t feel like it then maybe it’s time to reassess. If we allow our laziness to win then what we’re doing is practicing how to NOT pursue our goals and how to give our feelings of lethargy more importance. The habit our brains will learn is how to stay on the couch and not work on our goals. While it’s alright to take breaks, we must also remember to try to push through some of those times when we just don’t feel like it. In which case we’ll be teaching our brains that we do have the stamina to keep going, even on days when we’re not up to it. This way you’ll be achieving all your goals sooner than you even expect!
Breakdown each resolution into smaller steps
Sometimes our goals can become overwhelming when we look at the big picture. So breaking them down into smaller steps can be helpful. Much like eating a chocolate cake, we can’t fit the whole thing in our mouths so we take it day by day and slice by slice. For example, saying “I want to make money blogging this year” is too broad. It’s a great goal to have, but it’s easier to manage if you break it into smaller chunks. Start with, “I’ll have my niche figured out by the end of the month.” Then your next goal can be to research that niche. The next one could be to buy a domain. Everything is always much easier to process when broken into smaller parts.
Don’t beat yourself up
Making resolutions or pursuing goals should enrich our lives, not stress us out. What’s the point in pursuing anything if you’re just going to berate yourself every time something doesn’t go your way? Of course, you’re going to want to quit if you’re too hard on yourself. Part of the fun of starting a project at the beginning of the year is the process and the journey, being able to look back at the end of it all and say “With a lot of hard work, I was able to do that” and be proud of ourselves. You’re only human and if you’re trying you’re already half-way there. Keep going but don’t forget to be kind to yourself!
Find an accountability partner
Sticking to resolutions and following our goals is sometimes easier when we have someone to make us accountable for them. Usually, some of the best people for this job are our closest friends. Those people who aren’t afraid to tell us when we look like hell. Their honesty and love for us is the best combination when you need someone to remind you that you want this and that you’ll probably be miserable if you quit. Find someone like this in your life who’s willing to check in on you and cheer you on in those moments when you’re getting close to giving up. This is what friends are for, after all.
Remember to reward yourself along the way. Stop at every checkpoint towards your goal and remember to pat yourself in the back. Take yourself out to eat, go shopping. Do something you like to reward yourself for having come this far. This will also teach our brains that there’s always something fun waiting for us whenever we complete a step towards our goal. It will encourage us to keep working hard and make it more fun for us along the way!
There’s nothing that you can’t do once you set your mind to it. But you really have to set your mind to it. Decide how much you want this for yourself. Decide if you’d be happy living your life without it. All it takes is hard work and perseverance, which are qualities we all possess. All we need to do is find that spark and keep it burning. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.