Every year people vow to begin a variety of self improvement activities at the start of the New Year. Diet. Quit smoking. Start working out. Read more. The New Year’s resolutions are as varied as the people who make them.
And then? A week goes by, maybe two…and the diet, or workout schedule, is slowly forgotten. According to Forbes, 81% of people who make New Year’s resolutions abandon them by February.
Maybe next year.
But wait! There actually are some strategies that can help make sticking to a New Year’s resolution more possible. Let’s explore!
1 – Pick one resolution to start with. Just one. Trying to change more than one habit at a time is asking for overwhelm. How do you pick? It can be the one that’s easiest to work on. Or maybe the one that’s most important to you. Which brings us to….
2 – Nail down why you want to make this change. If you can tie the resolution to your values, or something that really matters to you, the odds of actually doing something about it are definitely greater. For example, suppose you would like to keep your house cleaner. If it’s just a “should,” it’s difficult to feel enthused about picking up that sponge. But, if it’s tied to having people over and not feeling embarrassed, or waking up in a neat bedroom, or wanting your family to have a clean environment-these are all reasons that can be motivating.
3 – Break your resolution down into very small parts. So, going back to the cleaning example, start out with just sweeping every day, or wiping the counters. Or tidy up the kitchen every other day. The idea is to be successful, so that you continue to be motivated. But what if you still aren’t starting, or completing this task? The answer is-make it even smaller.
4 – Celebrate your successes, even the tiny ones. You’re doing it! Are you doing the whole task? Not yet. But you are working towards it. Do a fist pump, or a high five in the mirror. Call your mom and tell her!
If you can build on the smaller successes, there is a better chance of actually making progress on your resolutions-instead of shoving the list into the trash. Again.