3 Ways to Maintain Your New Year's Resolutions

3 Ways to Maintain Your New Year's Resolutions

Making New Year's Resolutions is fun! Keeping them... is a bit harder. Everyone makes resolutions with good intentions. We all want to be better and improve over the year. Nevertheless, change is hard, and many of us discover that the passion we had in January has faded by February, along with our commitments. How can you beat the cycle and make this year the year of positive growth? Here are three ways to maintain your New Year's Resolutions.

1) Make It Small

Many people set big, flashy goals on January first. They may even break those goals down into smaller daily chunks. Still, don't underestimate the difficulty of change. Most of us look to do big things because we want to see results fast. Some people can manage intense large-scale lifestyle changes, but for the rest of us, change comes in small, quiet steps taken every day. You may have a grand goal, and that's great! When you break it down into daily actions, make it small, even smaller than you think you need to.

One of the best ways to tackle a huge goal is actually to first plant the seed of a new habit. For example, you may know you need to lose a certain amount of weight and that goal will translate into a certain amount of daily activity. However, if you're going from nothing to a super-fit lifestyle, that's going to be tough. You may benefit from planting the seed of ten minutes a day in the gym. When that ten minutes is up, kick off those capri yoga pants and leave. Wait, you say, it's so small! What change could possibly come out of that? However, once you get into the rhythm of going to the gym every day, even just for ten minutes, you might increase your time to fifteen minutes before you shuck your men's or women's sweatpants. Then twenty, then thirty, until you've worked your way up to the amount of working out that will have you healthy in no time! Start small, have a little patience, then watch it grow!

2) Make It Easy

Another obstacle that generally stands in our way is that most of us typically already have a full life. Trying to cram one more thing in there, especially a slightly complicated thing when you barely have time for the rest of your commitments, is really tough. When push comes to shove, you're most likely to drop the new thing and just go back to doing what you know works, even if it might not work very well. The solution is to make the new thing you're trying to introduce into your life as easy as possible.

As an illustration, let's say you're trying to cook your own (healthy) food more often. However, you normally have TV dinners or some other ready-made meal that takes ten minutes in the microwave. What can you do to make this new habit as easy as possible? One way is to just add one new element. Split the dinner into two and eat an apple instead of the other half. That will at least get you started doing something different. Your next step might be to take the time you normally watch a show on Sunday afternoon, bring the computer into the kitchen, wipe the counter with a hand towel, and prep your meals for the week. Do all the cutting and separate everything into containers that you can just throw into a crock pot or pan and cook in roughly ten or fifteen minutes. Make it as easy as possible on yourself so you're more likely to do it even when you don't feel like it.

3) Know Yourself

The motto of ancient Athens rings true when making and keeping New Year's Resolutions. See if you can troubleshoot where things might go wrong. If you're likely to forget to do your new habit, set an alarm, write yourself a note, or lay out your clothes so you remember what you are supposed to be doing. If you're too overwhelmed already, finish up one or two of your other commitments and take some things off your plate so you have more time to move in your new direction. Finally, have a plan for when you just can't figure it out that day and you mess up. We're all going to mess up everything at one point or another, so make a plan in advance. What are you going to do to get back on the horse? Whether you choose to go with accountability or reward and penalties or some other methods, figure out what you can do to keep going. Forgive yourself and don't let a small failure hinder you from moving forward.

Now that you know some ways to help keep your New Year's Resolutions, go after those dreams. Your goals are important and so are you. Don't give up!


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