5 Tips to Keeping New Years Resolutions

5 Tricks To Succeed With Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are my jam, the time of year I can share my goal generation passion with friends and family. Personally, I’m a goal setting addict. I love coming up with ways I can improve, targets to get better, and little ways to celebrate when I achieve my goals. But while setting goals is fun, it makes me a bit sad that most resolutions are abandoned by January 17th.

The fact is, January 1st holds no extraordinary power. And making sweeping, large goals to kick off your new year may be setting you up for failure. So, if you actually want to improve your life in 2018, here are my top five tips for how to succeed with your New Year’s resolutions!

Choose Resolutions That Have Emotional Meaning To You

Losing weight, getting out of debt, or saving for retirement are excellent goals. But if you are only targeting these things because you’re “supposed to” you likely won’t get anywhere. Your New Year’s resolutions should be things that genuinely matter to you.

One of my favorite books on thoughtful goal setting is The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. LaPorte focuses on setting goals based on how you want to feel, not what you want to achieve. I think this is the perfect methodology for most goals, but particularly financial ones.

Financial goals are usually based on wanting to change how you feel about money. You want to get out of debt because you want to feel less stressed and stretched by those bills. You want to save more for retirement to feel more secure in your future. Center in on those feelings and find the low hanging fruit that can move you closer to feeling better about money (or health, or your relationship, etc.).

Keep Your Goals Bite-Sized

I don’t know about you, but I am terrible at predicting the future. Sitting down and imagining what my life will look like 12 months, three years, or a decade down the road can be fun, but the likelihood that I see all the loops and detours that will pop up along the way are minuscule.

Break your long-term goals into short-term, predictable pieces. Then focus on those steps. Start with saving an extra $20 this week. Or making it to the gym twice a week for a month. Once you succeed at your small goal, build on it. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”

Have A Way To Measure Progress

Checking off items on a list, coloring in a visual representation of your savings goals, or having pictures to show your weight loss progress have a significant impact on your ongoing motivation to achieve a goal. Manually doing something to express the completion of a task actually releases endorphins!

Print a checklist to put on your fridge or at your desk at work. Or if you love having everything on your phone, download a goal setting app and follow your progress. HabitShare is excellent and lets you team up with friends. Productive is also supposed to be great but is only on iOS.

Use The Buddy System

Oh, the joys and pains of accountability. My exercise buddy is usually my good friend from high school. He and I don’t live in the same city, but it is still a kick in the pants when my alarm goes off in the morning to know he will be texting to ask how my workout went later in the day. And I know he doesn’t always love that I’m going to call him on his myFitnessPal food entries!

Finding a partner or community that shares your goals and values can make a big difference in breaking long-held habits. The good news is, technology has made finding those communities even easier. Whether it is finding a trail running group on MeetUp, connecting with long-distance friends via HabitShare or other apps, or just finding online forums of like-minded people; you can get the support you need to power through the tough days for free.

Accept That You’ll Have Stumbles

Habits are incredibly hard to break. Research by Duke University showed that habits actually generate a lasting pathway in the circuits of our brains, priming us to feed our cravings and follow our routine. If you truly want to change your behavior, it is going to take time. And there are going to be stumbles.

Instead of beating yourself up and throwing in the towel, give yourself some credit. Choose to focus on the things you did right, not what went wrong. If you didn’t make it to the gym one morning, make the next step a smarter one and grab that salad for lunch instead of a burger. Improvement isn’t an all or nothing game. It is all about the incremental step.

Imagine if your toddler gave up on walking the first time he fell? Or if J.K. Rowling gave up on her dream of writing after 12 major publishing houses rejected Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone? If we wish to succeed long-term, we have to be patient with ourselves.

Being A Bit Better Every Day Is A Worthy Goal

At the end of the day, the only person you are competing with when it comes to your New Year’s resolutions is you. Can you be just a little bit better today than you were yesterday? Can you make the days where you are better outnumber the days when you aren’t? If so, you’re on the right track. Good luck!

Do you set New Year’s resolutions? What are your goals for 2018 and how do you plan to achieve them? Share in the comments so we can be accountable to each other!

5 best tips for setting goals you can achieve

4 thoughts on “5 Tricks To Succeed With Your New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. So I am not usually one for “resolutions”- mostly because I am a realist (or perhaps a pessimist? Gotta work on that…lol)

    Anyhow, I do have a few goals for this year that are results of things that I have observed/felt throughout the past year, and want to change for peace of mind and happiness for myself and my family.

    I really want to analyze our spending and find a way to set aside money (open a separate account so we can’t touch it for other things) to finally work toward refinishing our basement. We always say we want to work toward it, but other things continually come up. We aren’t frivolous with money by any stretch, but life happens. And while we can’t say ‘No we aren’t paying for the doctor co-pay when the kids are sick’ or ‘No, we aren’t paying for our daughter to go on the school field trip’, I feel like something has to give here…how does my husband work insane hours at 2 jobs and we are still basically paycheck to paycheck, and nothing is saved for this home project? So this year I want to take a good hard look at things- life insurance premiums/accounts, utility bills, etc.- and see what can give a little and how we can see all our hard work and attempts to save pay off. I know we won’t save an entire tens of thousands of dollars worth for this in one year, but seeing measurable progress will certainly be a great goal to start with ?

    Also, not finances related, but happiness related- I want- no, need- to slow things down and say ‘no’ more, and just give myself and my kids more unscheduled time. As I said, my husband works insane hours teaching and coaching, and it seems the little time we do all have together is spent running here and there…and the time he is at work, I am running myself ragged trying to be the solo parent juggling 3 kids and their needs and schedules. Which makes me resentful, not enjoying…and it trickles to the kids. To that end, we spent yesterday and today all at home together, in pajamas, playing board games, watching movies, eating snacks, and turned down an invitation to go visit family today, which would have meant getting everyone ready, dressed, and out in the insane cold we are getting right now in PA, only to go into a stressful situation, which would have made us snappy with each other…so, the answer was ‘no’, and I’m so happy to be on the right track already ?

    Happy New Year!

  2. To be honest – my only New Year resolution is to not make any resolutions 🙂 It’s better for me, when I don’t feel any pressure and I can’t blame myself about not doing something at the end of the year. I just feel better with it.
    I just try to live my life like tomorrow would never come, I make my dreams come true and I just try to enjoy little things 🙂

  3. Love the bitesize comments. I get that people want to make aggressive goals and that’s fine. It’s good at the same time to break up those into little manageable milestones. All the best for a great goal-oriented 2018! 🙂

  4. I have been finding that people that have the best success in hitting their goals are those who tie the goals to past experiences. This means that your goal isn’t really ‘brand new’ but because it’s tied to something that’s already in your life, it already has a foundation. Whether your goal is to continue something positive or change something negative, to tie it to something that’s already rooted in your world today will help get to your goals tomorrow. That’s the idea anyway!

    Happy 2018!

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