It's the new year again, and with that comes the struggles of New Year Resolutions. Resolutions are often stressful, unreachable things. But they don’t have to be. They should be encouraging and lead you down the path you want to follow. Making realistic, simple resolutions can lead to a greater chance of success in the upcoming year. Here are 6 steps to help you set ones that work.
1. Be realistic in your goals.
Choose one goal, then break it down into smaller, more manageable bits. For example, if you want to save $1,000, think about it in terms of saving $20 per paycheck. That makes your goal less intimidating. Every time you save some money, praise yourself. Rewarding yourself for every positive step will help you have the confidence you need to hang in there.
2. Start with a plan and stick to it
Studies show that people who make impulsive resolutions are less likely to stick to them. Think about what is most important to you and create strategies to deal with the problems and setbacks that will come up as you move towards your goal. Tracking your progress will help as well; the more you monitor and praise yourself, the more likely you are to succeed.
3. Team up with a friend or loved one
Make a list of your goals and share them with a friend or loved one. You are now accountable to two people: yourself and the other person. You will also get a sense of satisfaction from helping your friend accomplish his or her goals, too. Such an informal pact can help hold your feet to the fire when you feel discouraged or want to give up — they can offer you some encouragement and support (and you can do likewise).
4. Look at the bright side and allow yourself mistakes
Focusing on the positive side of things will give you more energy and enthusiasm to pursue your goals. People who believe that they can succeed are more likely to do so. For example, praise yourself for losing five pounds, but don’t punish yourself for gaining one back. Remind yourself that every day is a new day and an opportunity to try again.
5. Think of resolutions as opportunities to try new things
Resolutions are a time of the year not only to try and “fix” the problems in your life, but also to try out a new way of being, a new activity or hobby, or a new attitude. Resolutions should not seem like punishments; if you try to make them fun, you will be more likely to stick with them.