Top 10 Ways to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions
By Aimee Hosler Jan 7, 2011
'Tis the season for good-hearted resolutions--and a heaping dose of humility when we break them. It happens to the best of us: we set difficult goals for ourselves and abandon them at the first hitch. (Note to self: donate stockpile of unopened workout DVDs.) Want to do better this year? Our top 10 ways to stick to your New Year's resolutions can help.
1. Choose your resolutions carefully.
Setting up New Year's resolutions that are either unrealistic or not important enough to keep are a waste of will power. Set goals that are manageable but meaningful.
2. Make it worth your while.
New Year's resolutions often require a tremendous amount of dedication and will power. Celebrate your milestones by setting up your own reward system. Just be certain the prize won't undermine your efforts, such as celebrating your weight loss with a big bowl of ice cream.
3. Set small goals.
Resolutions can sometimes seem daunting. Putting needless pressure on yourself to execute them perfectly may mean you are setting yourself up for failure. This year, set a timeline with smaller milestones toward achieving your ultimate goal.
4. Tell the world!
John Selden once said, "Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it's twice as onerous a duty." Why? Because telling others makes you accountable for your commitments--and it makes your resolutions harder to break. If you're the type of person who excels under this type of pressure, telling others your goals can help.
5. Track your progress.
Don't overlook small victories. Take some time each day to write or reflect on what you've done to work toward your goals and give yourself a pat on the back. Lasting resolutions are a work in progress.
6. Forgive slip-ups.
Someone once said that a New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. This clever play on words makes a good point: many people don't adhere to their resolutions. One reason is that people tend to throw their goals out the window the minute they slip up. Try to look at mistakes as growing pains, not fatal errors.
7. Get support when necessary.
Some New Year's resolutions, such as resolving to quit smoking or drinking, are too important or difficult to manage on your own. Seeking help from a professional or just an excellent friend can make the burden more manageable.
8. Meditate on it.
You don't have to get your ohm on if it's not your style, but there's scientific evidence that meditation can actually impact your thinking processes and ability to achieve goals. One 2007 study published in PloS Biology found that meditation can significantly impact the way the brain allocates attention, allowing you to focus better in your day-to-day life.
9. Keep your eye on the prize.
Chances are you chose New Year's resolutions that have some long-term benefit, such as improving your health, happiness, or quality of life in some way. Remind yourself of your ultimate goal often.
10. Remember you're worth it.
It may sound like self-help jargon at its finest, but it's important enough to risk an eye roll or two: you're worthy and capable of doing anything you set your mind to. Never degrade your efforts or dwell in your failures.