Five Tips to Make New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Keep

Posted on January 10, 2022 in Inspiration

The New Year is here, and it’s an exciting time for reflection and renewal. However, it’s also the time of year when you might see one of the countless studies echoing that a whopping 80% of New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past January. It can be hard to jump into making more resolutions if we’re afraid that they’re doomed from the outset — but with a few tips you might find that it’s actually easier than you think to set yourself up for success and make achievable goals for the coming year.

1. Have Goals with Meaning

Change is, simultaneously, one of the most natural things in the world and one of the most difficult things to go through. If you don’t understand not only what you want to change but why you want to change it, you’re setting yourself at an immediate disadvantage. If another person, society, or a whim are the only things telling you to make a change, it’s incredibly likely that you won’t have the steadfastness to stick with the new behavior long enough for it to become a habit. The reason they’re called New Year’s resolutions is because they require resolve to complete. In order to have the resolve you need, your goals will need to be both attractive and compelling to you on a deep and personal level. To make resolutions you can stick with, make sure you understand the things in your life you’d like to change and the foundational reasons for why — along with the positive impacts that the changes will bring. 

2. Have Achievable Goals

Some resolutions fail to launch because they were broken from the start. Some are too vague, some are too big, and some are just downright not realistic or even physically possible. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dream big — but larger leaps are significantly more difficult to make than small ones. Think about how a large or nebulous goal can be broken down into smaller, more defined pieces. Wanting to climb one of the Seven Summits isn’t a bad goal, but wanting to do so with no prior training by year’s end is probably neither doable nor safe. Instead, the bigger component can be a greater goal over a period of several years, with an attainable sub-goal set for the year ahead — like climbing several 14ers. Cutting your dreams and desires into achievable chunks is one of the best ways to ensure that you make continued, meaningful progress toward your objectives.  

3. Measure Your Goals

365 days is a long amount of time that also flies by in a snap. There’s so much for us to focus on in our day-to-day lives, and it can be easy for us to forget our goals, feel discouraged, or just plain not see the progress being made. It’s for these reasons that highly successful weightlifters keep detailed records and notes on their routines and regimens. They need to know what gains are being made at what rate, and they can easily confirm progress over time in the moments where it seems like little advancement is being made. When challenges and setbacks arrive, they can review the information they’ve kept to modify their plan of attack or pivot to achieve the best results. Even though all types of resolution are not so easily measured, it’s incredibly important that we find ways to record, review, measure, and reflect on our goals from the outset. Any amount of progress logging — even just writing about your thoughts on the relevant issue — can prove a key tool in keeping and wildly succeeding in your New Year’s resolutions. Take notes, take pictures, buy a notepad, make a log in your phone, or write on a calendar every day; use whatever method works for you. And remember, the key to getting the most out of the data recording is the same as the key to getting the most out of your resolutions; consistency.   

4. Be Ready for Obstacles

Life is unpredictable. Overtime crunch at work might leave you with less time than you thought, or an unexpected happy hour with an old friend might threaten your new diet. When you’ve made your resolution, consider the obstacles it’s most likely to face, as well as problems that might arise along the way. Think about situations that may have derailed your efforts in the past and what strategies could be used to overcome those situations. Having a plan in place will make it easy to make the right call and stay on track in difficult times. 

5. Know When to Cut Yourself Some Slack

If your goal was to wake up early every day of the year but you woke up late one day, does that mean that you should give up? Of course not. We’re all human, and no one is perfect; slipping a little in discipline and making mistakes are normal, expected behaviors from regular people — and little slip-ups are no reason to abandon our greater goals. Understand that you set your resolution or goal to improve yourself as a person, and as long as you’re continuing to make improvements — at whatever pace is right for you — then you’re still on the correct path. While we should hold ourselves accountable and try to stick to our promises as best we can, being overly hard on yourself for making a minor mistake can cause a toxic mindset that actually stunts your improvement and makes it harder to grow. 

By incorporating these five tips, you can give yourself a set of resolutions to confidently strive forward in the New Year — and remember that overall personal growth, no matter what resolution or practice it came from, is the ultimate goal. We at The Kirby Foundation wish you a world of success in a happy New Year!

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