Millions of people around the world make New Year’s resolutions at the start of each year, but sadly only about 8% of us achieve them.
Even if you have the best of intentions, it’s tough to integrate new habits into your day-to-day routine, especially when they take a bit of extra effort.
Some of the most common goals people set at the beginning of a new year include eating healthier, losing weight, sleeping more, exercising more regularly, and spending less money.
Researchers have deemed this aspirational way of thinking as the “fresh start effect,” motivating new behaviors based on temporal landmarks.
For many, the new year feels like a new beginning, which is why it’s so common for people to set lofty resolutions in January.
So what can you do differently this year that will help you to keep those resolutions in place? By following these 10 strategies, you can beat the odds and maintain your New Year’s resolutions all year long.
- Focus on one goal at a time. There’s no need to bombard yourself with a list of big, hard-to-achieve goals. A mixture of small goals that you can tick off one by one will prove much more realistic.
- Make a detailed plan. Spend time thinking about how you’ll actually achieve your resolutions, including ways you can keep yourself on track and why you want to focus on them. Having a plan in place will help you avoid obstacles or resistance along the way.
- Start small. If you have one underlying “big” goal in mind, starting small and taking incremental steps to achieve it is key. Otherwise, taking on too much too quickly will likely result in you abandoning the goal full stop.
- Don’t repeat past failures. If your goals for this year are the same as last year’s and you didn’t achieve any of them in the past, now is the time to make some adjustments. What prevented you from keeping your resolutions last year? By altering your goals slightly, you can ensure you see real results this time around.
- Be realistic. Resolving to never eat your favorite snack again in an effort to eat more healthily is a setup for failure. When you set your resolutions, be realistic and make them attainable. (For example, you can have your favorite snack a few times each month.)
- Share your goals with others. Telling your family or friends about your New Year’s resolutions might make you more committed to the goal, especially if they check up on you. In the best-case scenario, they might even take on your resolution as their own, so you can work toward it together.
- Log your progress. Try to keep track of all of your successes, however small they may seem. Over the course of the year (or even a few months), you can look back on your progress and see how far you’ve come, which might help you remain dedicated for longer.
- Revisit your initial motivation. When you first set your resolutions, you’ll probably feel excited and motivated to make a change. After some time, however, this excitement will dwindle and may affect your momentum. Reminding yourself of why exactly you’re making the change can reignite your motivation when your courage wavers.
- Adapt and be flexible. If you’ve broken your resolution or relapsed into a bad habit, don’t see it as a total failure. Instead, see it as a learning opportunity and be open to adapting your goal. The path to reaching your goals is not always a straight line, so be flexible with yourself (just not too flexible!).
- Keep trying. If you run out of steam by early February and feel disheartened about keeping your resolutions going, don’t feel bad. You can always start over. Recommit to your goal for 24 hours, then two days, and take it from there.
Looking to make wellness a higher priority in the new year? Try evaluating your sleep habits, and looking for a mattress that supports healthy sleep by removing chemicals such as flame retardants, adhesives, vinyl, polyurethane foam, perfluorinated compounds and other questionable chemicals from products.
We hope you maintain your resolutions this year and for many to come!