It's now spring, and you're still wondering how to stick to your New Year's resolutions. Every year you make a list, but never stick to them. So you either give up, or go through the same process again next year. But if you like making resolutions, it is possible to make them work. Here are some handy hints on how to stick to your New Year's resolutions …
1. Don't Be Disheartened
Knowing how to stick to your New Year's resolutions is not simple, but the key is not to be disheartened. So your willpower seems a little absent - we're not superhuman, and it's tough adapting to a new way of doing things! Accept that it won't be easy and that you will slip along the way.
2. Make Them Realistic
Your goals will be easier to stick to if you make them realistic. There's no point, for example, vowing to work out six times a week if you don't have time. Schedule short sessions three times a week instead. This will encourage you, as you see yourself succeeding.
3. It's OK to Slip
There's no need to beat yourself up if you don't manage to stick to your resolutions 100%. Get too despondent at your "failure," and you'll give up. That means you get nowhere. Accept a few slips, keep trying, and you stand a better chance of achieving at least some of your goals.
It's always useful to review your resolutions at various points throughout the year. Circumstances can change, and resolutions may become irrelevant or need altering. Be flexible, and adapt your aims according to your needs. You will also find that reviewing them can boost your pleasure at having succeeded!
5. Any Time of Year
It may be traditional to start resolutions on January 1st, but you may find that it suits you better to begin at another time of year. There's no reason why you can't begin in spring, if that's when you feel more motivated. Or start simply because you want to make changes. Do what works for you!
Okay, so we all get a little low on determination at times, but you have to keep working on your resolutions. If they were that easy, there probably wouldn't be any point making them! So be persistent. Give up, and you get nowhere. Stick at it, and you will achieve something.
Telling people about your resolutions can be effective in two ways. First, they can support and encourage you in reaching your goals. Secondly, having people know about your resolutions is an incentive. If you don't stick to them, your friends will know about it and tell you off!
8. Partner up
Finding a "buddy" can also be a great encouragement, whether your resolutions are identical or completely different. Let's say that your mutual goal is to lose weight. You can go to classes together, swap healthy recipes, and exercise together. Remember that it's about mutual support though, and don't turn it into a competition!
9. Don’t do Everything at Once
Maybe you want to overhaul your bad eating habits or you vow to go through every closet in your house. Choose one resolution to start with. Like tip #5 says, you can start anytime of year, so instead of changing a whole bunch of things on January 1st, pick the one that’s most important to you. Maybe you decide to eat more fruits and vegetables. In a few weeks, when that becomes a habit, get to work on those overflowing closets. This method eliminates the frustration of not being able to keep up with all the changes you want to make and your success at each one will spur you on to the next.
10. Practice Self-Control
Yes, quitting cigarettes or avoiding soda is not easy. It fact, it’s downright hard! However, getting a grip on your self-control is a super powerful way to stick with your resolution. Try a pair of hand grippers to get yourself in the habit of avoiding your powerful craving. Anytime the “need” for a cigarette or can of Pepsi strikes, grab those grippers and squeeze until your self-control sets in and you can resist. A rubber stress ball serves the same purpose.
11. Be Super Specific
A broad goal, like “I want to lose weight,” is harder to stick to than one that specifies what you’re going to do to reach that goal. Your resolution should be something like, “I’m going to exercise for 30 minutes per day,” or “I’m going to stick to 1,500 calories per day.” That way you aren’t overwhelmed with the process, but can still stick with your resolution to shed those lingering holiday pounds.
12. Visualize the End Result
Maybe your resolution is to save enough money for a beach vacation. Anytime your dedication lags or that great pair of stilettos calls your name, visualize yourself lying on the sand with a margarita, and chances are you’ll have no trouble putting the money away instead of frittering it away on things you don’t really need.
13. Reward Yourself
Tiny rewards along the way can really encourage you to stick with your resolution. Treat yourself for each small step and you’ll be much more motivated to stick with it. For example, have a movie night at home with friends to reward yourself for getting started on organizing the garage. Or buy a new workout outfit for the first 10 pounds you lose. Whatever the reward, it can keep you on the straight and narrow.
Most resolutions barely make it into the second week of January before being discarded or quietly forgotten. It's not obligatory to compile a list of resolutions, but if you do want to make some changes it is certainly a good idea to make a formal list rather than just have a vague idea. Have you ever managed to stick to any of your resolutions for an entire year?
This article written in collaboration with editor, Eliza Martinez