If you are making a New Year’s resolution this year, you’re part of the 45% of Americans who usually make resolutions, plus a few of the 17% who infrequently make resolutions. The act of formally setting a resolution makes you 10 times more likely to succeed in it than you would otherwise be, but it still doesn’t guarantee success. You have to follow through with it, not just during January (which 64% of people who make resolutions during the year manage to do), but also during the rest of the year. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
- Make Your Resolution Specific
It’s a lot easier to celebrate your progress toward a resolution if you were specific when you set it. For example, rather than resolving to “lose weight,” which you could arguably succeed in if you lost one pound and kept it off for the whole year, set a goal of losing (and keeping off) at least one pound per month, or ending the year with a particular BMI. If you’re resolving to spend less and save more, set a specific dollar amount you want to slash from your monthly spending and funnel into savings.
- Plan How You’ll Achieve Your Goal
Your resolution may seem too big to tackle at first, which is why it’s helpful to break it down into specific actionable steps you can take. For example, rather than remembering that $100 you wanted to shave off your grocery bill each month while you’re at the store (or at the end of the month as you tally your spending), plan ahead. Decide how many trips to the store you’ll make each month, how much you’ll spend each time, and what items you can stop buying to stick to your budget on each trip.
- Bounce Back After Snags
You will have times when your progress toward your resolution is stalled. After all, you’re making the resolution because you’re trying to break patterns in your life that you don’t like. Those patterns are bound to be deeply ingrained, and you will slip up every once in a while. However, it’s how you deal with those slip-ups that really matters. Don’t beat yourself up over them, but instead, focus on what you can do next time to make forward progress.
- Find a Resolution Buddy
Chances are, you know someone else who has a similar resolution to you. If you don’t yet, ask around during the holidays to find someone who is setting the same type of goal you are. Then make plans to get together during the year to talk about your progress. If you meet even once a month, like for dessert on the first Tuesday evening of each month (unless your resolution is to lose weight), you’ll get accountability and support from working together. Sharing your struggles and triumphs can help you both stay on track toward meeting your goals.