It’s easy to wake up on January 1st and make a list of everything you’ll do differently this year. You’ll eat healthier, exercise more, go to sleep earlier, and stop hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock in the morning. But after a few weeks of trying to change for the better, those well-intentioned resolutions are usually history by early February.
Here are a few tips to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions all the way through next December.
Make One Change at a Time
It’s tempting to make a laundry list of new habits at the beginning of the year, but you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect to be able to change all your unhealthy behaviors at once. Willpower is a muscle and as such it can be worn out from overuse. Instead, focus on one small goal like exercising three times a week or cooking at home six nights a week. Only once you’ve absorbed these habits into your daily routine should you start thinking about tackling one of your other resolutions.
Words like “never” or “always” make resolutions very difficult to keep. You need to give your supply of willpower some wiggle room. Instead of aiming to never eat sweets again, it would be more achievable to restrict eating sweets to one day of the week. You may be able to commit to meditating twenty minutes a day eventually, but try starting out with ten minutes three to four days a week.
Keep Track of Your Progress
It’s important to write your resolutions down and keep a detailed log of your progress. It would be helpful to place this log somewhere you will see it each day. You feel both proud of the progress you’ve made toward your goal and accountable to do the work you still have laid out in front of you.
Share Your Plans with Others
When you resolve to start eating better or going to the gym more, share it with the people close to you. They can offer much-needed support. You will also be more likely to follow through on your resolutions if more people than just you know what you are striving toward.
Remember the Good Times
Even if you follow the other tips on this list, there will be days where you just can’t resist that cupcake, or when you just can’t make it out to the gym. Don’t beat yourself up when this happens. Instead, remember all the times you have successfully kept to your resolution. Feel proud of yourself for all the progress you’ve made and refuse to let a bump in the road keep you from going further.
Don’t worry if you’ve already slipped a little (or a lot) when it’s come to keeping your New Year’s resolutions. Use the above tips to scale down your lofty goals into something manageable and soon you’ll be enjoying a happier, healthier 2016.