The beginning of a new year is always a perfect time to get started with new behavior, habits, routines, and other things – that is probably why many people are always eager to make New Year’s resolutions. Always feeling like a fresh start, New Year’s resolutions are much easier to make than to keep, to the extent that by the end of the first quarter of the year, many of us have abandoned our resolutions and moved on with other stuff.
As a matter of fact, according to research carried out by researchers at the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania, USA), 23% of people quit working on their resolutions just two weeks into the new year and only 19% of resolution setters stuck to their goals over the long haul. One main reason for this is that we do not know how to keep New Year’s resolutions, even though we always have the intention of wanting to achieve all we’ve set out to do at the beginning of the year.
But why do lots of people set goals at the beginning of every year? Ever heard of the “fresh start effect”? The fresh start effect is pretty simple. It refers to the tendency for humans to want to take action towards achieving a goal after a special occasion or key date has passed. The New Year is a special time which is why so many people often set a series of high resolutions during these times. New Year’s resolutions vary from person to person, but they are all about achieving positive results.
Whatever your New Year’s resolution is, the important thing is that you are on the right path to achieving it. So, what can you do to increase the likelihood of you keeping your New Year’s resolution this time around? Here are a few tips that may help you beat the odds this time:
1. Start Small
It’s the New Year and you are feeling motivated and excited about the year and your goals, but don’t let your excitement lead you to set unattainable goals. If you want to start a new routine or activity – start small and slow and be consistent till you adapt to the routine, then increase it. Starting with small steps helps you avoid discouragement along the way.
2. Set Specific Goals
At the beginning of the year, people set various goals, for example, some resolve to make more money, or lose weight. However, instead of setting ambiguous goals, it is better to focus and set concrete and specific goals. For example, rather than resolving to just lose weight, you can make it your goal to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year; that is a more concrete, specific and achievable goal.
3. Be Realistic
When making a New Year’s resolution, you should be truthful to yourself and acknowledge both your strengths and your weaknesses. Set your goals according to your strengths and available resources. If you don’t, you might lose the motivation needed to pursue those goals.
4. Write It Down
It’s important to keep track of your progress as the year goes by. By writing down your goals and status every time, you’re getting an idea of whether you’re making progress or not. Writing down your goals helps you narrow your focus and provides short-term motivation and excitement for you to keep on striving to achieve the set goals.
5. Draw Out A Plan And Make It Visual
After making your New Year’s resolution, draw out an action plan for achieving it. The plan should include the steps needed to achieve the goals, as well as the reason behind why you are pursuing that goal in the first place. Once you’ve been able to draw out an action plan, write it out and place it where you’ll see it every day.
6. Find An Accountability Partner
One way to keep your New Year’s resolution alive is to have someone to keep you in check and accountable for achieving your goals. An accountability partner can be the last nail in the coffin and a much-needed source of motivation, inspiration, strength and support, to help you stay focused and keep your New Year’s resolutions.
Making a New Year’s resolution has become a yearly ritual, but the difference between success and failure in keeping to the resolution is simply choosing the right goal and the process to achieving it. One thing to remember is to be kind and flexible with yourself and celebrate any and all progress along the way. It’s not just the end goal that matters but it’s the small wins picked up along the way.