It’s that time of the year again. When January 1st rolls around, millions of people worldwide set their New Years’ resolutions, determined to become the best version of themselves. They make all kinds of resolutions. Some want to get in shape. Others want to pick up a new skill or improve in their careers.
But regardless of what they choose for their New Years’ resolutions or why they pick that specific one, they all share something in common. The vast majority of New Years’ resolutions go unfulfilled.
Why Do Most Resolutions Fail?
In January, we’re always flush with positivity. We’ve just decided we’re going to change ourselves for the better. We bought the gym membership, the self-help books, and the healthy food. Now the only problem is actually following through.
Part of the problem with New Years’ resolutions is their very nature. When you approach something as a giant, transformative task, that’s the form it takes in your head. That makes it massive and daunting. Essentially, you’re giving it the power to defeat you.
That’s why many people find it helpful not to make a “New Years’ resolution” at all. Instead, they approach the new year with a “performance review” mindset. Rather than having one huge task you have to tackle, you have several small tasks that you need to accomplish. This helps prevent you from being overwhelmed.
Tips to Keep Your New Years’ Resolutions
Okay, so we’ve covered some of the main reasons resolutions fail. But how can we turn that into actions to help our resolutions succeed? We’re glad you asked!
Life happens fast in the 2020s, and that’s not likely to change in 2022. But that’s no excuse. You can’t go around blaming forces you can’t control for ruining your New Years’ resolution. Instead, you need to hold yourself to your New Years’ resolution. Remember, this is your life, and no one can live it for you.
Stop Sabotaging Yourself
This may sound surprising, but sometimes we don’t actually want to succeed. Self-sabotaging behavior can be nefarious, especially because it’s usually not overt. We don’t recognize that we’re throwing a monkey wrench into our own plans – we just wonder why they’re not working.
Behaviors like procrastination or perfectionism can actually be subtle forms of self-sabotage. Some progress is better than none at all, even if you’re not meeting your goals. Remember: perfect is the enemy of good.
Stick With It
This is probably one of the most important ways to set yourself up to succeed. It’s easy to let a cheat day snowball into a cheat week. And once that happens, you’re liable to let yourself just slide further. Then, suddenly, it’s March, and you’ve spent more time in the new year neglecting your resolution than nurturing it.
Sticking with your New Years’ resolution isn’t easy. At some point, you’re going to want to give yourself a break, even if it’s just as a small reward. That’s fine. But what you absolutely cannot do is let your entire resolution slide. The only way you’re going to pull this off is by holding yourself to it.
Four Healthy New Years’ Resolutions
Looking for some inspiration this New Year? Check out these four popular (and doable!) resolutions to help you brainstorm your own.
- Lose Weight/Get in Shape/Eat Better
This is probably one of the most common resolutions out there. While some of us want to shed a few pounds to reach our target weight, others just want to improve their overall physical wellness. Both are admirable goals, and you can go about them pretty much the same way.
Both losing weight and getting in shape requires two main components. First, you need to exercise. That’s probably the easiest to identify, given that 12 percent of all new gym memberships occur in January. However, it takes more than just time at the gym to get in shape. You’ll probably also need to change your diet. Often, you’ll see people say this diet or that diet worked for them, so you should try it. What you don’t hear people say is, work on ADDING food into your diet. Do you get enough fruits and veggies? What about protein? Once you start getting the good stuff in and enjoying it, it will be easier to remove the stuff that might not serve your goals. You need to fuel all that hard work you put in the gym, so this suggestion may not even come with weight gain. If it does, let’s hope it’s that sweet, sweet noob gains many often get when first starting out lifting weights.
- Pick Up a New Skill
Whether learning how to code, play an instrument, or meditate, picking up a new skill is a popular New Year’s resolution. And akin to getting in shape, it’s going to take some commitment.
Whenever you try to learn a new skill (regardless of what it is), the most important thing is to practice. That means setting up a schedule. Take a short amount of time out of every day or every other day to cultivate your new interest. Remember, repetition is the key here. It’s better to practice your skill for 15 minutes every day than two hours every week.
- Level Up Your Career
Countless people swear to improve their careers in the coming year. That’s particularly true today, with the ongoing “Great Resignation” seeing more than half of Americans trying to switch jobs.
But you can’t just decide to get a better job in one day. When it comes to changing your career path, it’s super important to do everything in small, achievable parts. Consider starting by revamping your resume. Then, apply for a certain number of jobs every week. Stick with it. This resolution, in particular, is one that you’re going to need to really stick with to find success.
- Save Money
Saving money goes hand-in-hand with improving your career. But they’re not the same. Instead of getting a better job, saving money focuses on cutting out unnecessary expenses or somehow reducing necessary expenses.
There are some pretty standard ways to save money. For example, you could cook dinner more often instead of going out to eat. But you can actually get pretty creative with this resolution, too. For example, you could figure out a way to cut down on necessary expenses.
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