If we’re being honest and realistic, the chances of us keeping our New Year resolutions for the entire year are slim if not non-existent. This being said, hope is not entirely lost. There are some simple solutions to help you keep your New Year resolution all the way through until December 2020 - imagine how smug you’ll feel then!
Keep a log
The most old school and basic of trying to commit to any new habit is to track your progress, and the easiest way to do this is to keep a log. Whether it’s a digital timeline or a hard copy diary, keeping an account of different milestones or experiences related to your ultimate goal is an invaluable tool when it comes to keeping your resolution. Not only do you keep track of where you’re currently at, you can see how far you’ve come which can be a powerful motivator. It doesn’t have to be a daily update, instead commit to writing in it when you’ve achieved something, feel positive about achieving your goal, or you’ve worked out a way to get a step closer. This way you can look back on less successful days and feel inspired to continue onwards.
Break it down
Sometimes you can create a New Year’s resolution that can seem insurmountable or be so left field that you have no idea where to start with it. This is often the case, and is something that contributes heavily to people giving up on their resolutions. Instead of throwing in the towel, break your resolution down into more practical actions. For example, say your resolution is to be more organised this year, well you can start off by getting a calendar, or some more storage space, or setting aside a couple of hours a week to go through what’s happening the following week, so that you can prepare. Often our New Year’s resolutions revolve around abstract concepts and aims which make them difficult to quantify or act upon, by breaking them down into practical actions that relate to the larger aim, you’ll be far more likely to stick with it.
Reward, don’t punish, yourself
Look, if you’re doing something to make your life easier or more successful over an extended period of time, sometimes you’re going to fall off the wagon. Perhaps you’ll have a bad day or even a bad week and think about giving up on the whole ordeal in its entirety. Don’t do this. Instead, look at your log, hit the reset button and come back the next day with a renewed energy for your goal. In the short term, it might feel like a struggle but overall it’ll be worth it. The same goes for if you’re having a run of good days or weeks - reward yourself. Open that nice bottle of wine and put your feet up, or go out on an adventure - you’ve earned it. Giving yourself positive reinforcement will only help you stick to your goals on a long term basis.
Keep pushing yourself
The thing with a New Year resolution is that if you do somehow manage to stick with it long enough to achieve it, then what? What’s next? If you don’t keep pushing yourself and extending your goal you’ll end up either standing still or relapsing on your resolution, neither of which are positive things. Instead, if you feel yourself nearing your eventual goal, find a way to improve it and make it bigger or find a new avenue to go down. For instance, if you’re trying to be more organised at home, maybe extend that to your workplace, or alter your focus more on to time-management or communication skills. Either find a new goal or extend your current one so that you can keep evolving and improving with the times - push yourself.
New Year resolutions don’t have to be tied to an annual cycle. The spirit of them is using the blank canvas of the New Year to create a new, positive habit that will have a lasting effect on your life. The fact that most of them fail around the first week of February is because we see them as short term ambitions rather than long term habits and goals. So, switch your mindset, follow these four fundamental steps and you can thank me next December.