How to Make Your New Year Resolutions Stick

  New Year.   New chances, new beginnings.   It’s the perfect time to envision the changes that you want to see this coming year as you say “Good riddance” to the year that has past.   But do things really change as your calendar turns from one year to another? Do these future plans really flourish, or are they left as blueprints that are never built? Will you make your New Year’s resolutions real, or is building that list of changes you want to make just another annual habit where you never really cross anything off that list?   Make that change now.   Here are a few ways for you to make those New Year resolutions more than just broken promises to yourself.   Make those goals realistic   Saying that you’ll lose 50 lbs. next year may be an awesome goal, but do you really think that’s something you will be able to achieve right away? Try setting lower goals for yourself, it’s going to be easy to jump to the next step once you’ve crossed the first milestone off your list.   Instead of going all in, you can set different milestones over a certain time period. For example, you can aim for 10 lbs. the first quarter of the year, then another 10 the next. So what if you really lose those 10 lbs. the first month alone? That only makes you all pumped up to go for the next 10 right away.   Going for unrealistic goals would only overwhelm you. Don’t always believe it when they say that the bigger the challenge is, the more you are motivated to push yourself a bit more. That doesn’t work for everyone, and it will only tire you out. And the moment you get tired, you’re just going to go back to your old habits.   Make your goals realistic and make it easier for yourself to overcome those hurdles. You can aim for harder challenges once you’re done with those warmup sessions. At least you’ll have more confidence to go for the next milestone once you’re done with the easier ones.   Be aware of what your strengths and weaknesses are   Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can give you a huge advantage over the odds. For instance, if you know that you are easily motivated by rewards but are also easily distracted, then set a reward that you can give yourself for every milestone you achieve while minimizing the distractions around your environment.   If you plan to start using the gym equipment in your basement, then clear your basement of everything that you think will keep you from working out, like that couch strategically placed in front of the treadmill and the fridge that’s sitting right in the corner.   Start window shopping for stuff that you’re going to reward yourself with the moment you reach your goals for the year. It could be a few small ones for each milestone you reach, and then one big reward for the time you reach your end goal.   Be with the right people   You may be planning on quitting smoking this coming year, but surrounding yourself with smokers and joining them each and every time they take a cigarette break is not going to help your cause.   Start talking to your friends about the changes you want to make this year, and make them understand how seriously you want this to happen. Real friends, of course, will understand. If there are those who do not understand, then it’s going to have to be a choice between your goals and their company for now. You can always hang out with them again later on, at a time when you believe you are strong enough to withstand the kind of temptation they offer.   It’s also great to have someone who’s working towards a goal this year as well. This setup will not only help you have someone beside you who motivates you and understands the ups and downs of going after these goals, it will also empower you to have an impact on someone else’s life as well.   Punish yourself   In the same way that you give yourself rewards every single time you hit a milestone, consider a few punishments every time you fail to do what you have to do as well.   If you’ve been planning on cutting back on smoking for example, you can limit yourself to only having two sticks a day, then subjecting yourself to a quick run around the block for each stick you smoke beyond that limit. That’s instant exercise for you, with a jabbing pain in your lungs that would remind you why you decided to quit in the first place.   Yes, it’s going to be VERY tempting to cheat and tell yourself you’ll let this one slide by, or the next one, or the next. That’s completely up to you. Just remember that this is one deal that you made with no one else but yourself. I’ll give you one guess on who you’re actually fooling if you decide to go this route.   Schedule a few breathers   Especially if the goal you’re going for is a tough one, like doubling your sale percentage from last year’s numbers, or doing twice as much push ups than what you were able to do in 2015, there’s always going to be that one day when you wake up and wonder whether this is all worth it.   Well you know what, if you really want it, then it definitely IS worth it. But before you get to that, you’re gonna have to take a bit of a breather first.   Burnouts are common for people who set tough goals for themselves. Unfortunately, one major burnout could cause you to lose focus on the prize and start running back towards the opposite direction.   Not good at all.   Be aware of how you’re feeling and always be on the lookout for signs of an impending burnout. Schedule some breathers in between huge tasks so that you can give yourself time to recover before going in for the kill once again. Just a few more days and another year is here again. Let’s make the most out of it by creating a list of resolutions – and actually sticking to them this time.   Special thanks to Michael Killingbeck for the main image.

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