As the second month of 2022 gets underway, many struggle to keep their New Year’s resolutions. Whether you’re struggling to stay consistent or you’re still going strong (and want to keep it that way), these six tips will help cement any of your New Year’s Resolutions.
1. Consistency ≠ Daily
There is a common misconception that consistency means observing the resolution every day. However, this assumption can discourage those who aren’t hitting the daily “quota”.
Instead, try to frame consistency as regular intervals of activity or progress. For example, if you’d like to ride a bike instead of driving to work, start with a goal of riding twice a week. Once it becomes a habit, you can increase the frequency without being discouraged by missing a day or two.
2. Start Small
Similar to the mindset of the last tip, it might help to focus on a small change during the first few months of the year. Starting small can also help keep expectations realistic.
To illustrate this piece of advice with an example, suppose you want to eat healthier. Instead of attempting to cook every meal in the new year at home with fresh ingredients, start with simply avoiding fast food. For one month, focus on the small goal of finding alternatives to fast food.
Once you’ve started to form a habit of eating healthier food, you can continue to add to your monthly goals: cook one meal from fresh ingredients once a week. This progression helps foster the adoption of the new behavior and encourages future progress.
3. Don’t Chase Results
Many times, when making a New Year’s Resolution, people focus on the ideal result of their changed behavior. Although this is helpful in creating a resolution, it shouldn’t be used to gauge progress on the proposed change.
For example, if you resolved to spend less money in 2022, you may expect more money to occupy your bank account. However, so long as you are cutting out unnecessary spending (like unused subscriptions, for an example), you are still accomplishing your resolution.
Unexpected circumstances can arise throughout the year that may hinder or alter the expected results of a resolution. In the example above, a car accident might prompt the purchase of a replacement vehicle. This accident (and resulting expenses) should not negatively impact the resolution even though it may hurt your bank account.
4. Define Your Drive
As outlined in the previous tip, focusing solely on the results can lead to disappointment. However, it is still important to remind yourself about the purpose of your resolution. Anything that inspires action or dedication will work.
Whether your resolution alters your personal image, financial status, or hobbies, writing down your reason and posting it in a common area serves as a reminder to continue your New Year’s Resolutions.
5. Create External Accountability
A resolution can be a very private action. It involves examining oneself, finding flaws or deficiencies, and outline a plan to fix them. However, a purely internal goal creates a space conducive to excuses and forgetfulness.
If – instead of a private resolution – you told a trusted friend or family member, they can serve as a form of accountability. They will likely ask you throughout the first few months of the year if you’ve made any progress toward your resolution.
With this external agent acting as a motivating force, you may find it easier to stick to a resolution.
6. Acknowledge and Reward
Finally, don’t be afraid to recognize your success. If you’ve consistently stuck to your resolution throughout January, complement yourself! If you’re comfortable, brag to a friend or family member (which could lead external accountability, as described in the previous step)!
As the year marches on, celebrate milestones and your commitment to change. Even though January 1st serves as a good excuse to start something new, any day of the year is the perfect time to commit to a positive resolution.