Stay Motivated and Succeed with New Year's Resolutions
Updated on 04 Jan 2024 • 5 min read • posted by Maria H
Every New Year we are filled with enthusiasm. We want to make positive changes, reach new heights, and become better versions of ourselves. The first thing we do to achieve this – make New Year's resolutions. At the same time, a study published in PLoS One shows that only 40% of people manage to keep up with their goals after six months.
So the main issue is to formulate these promises correctly and to fulfill them at all. That's why in this article, we'll share practical tips on how to create meaningful resolutions and keep them.
Popular New Year Resolutions
If you google “new year resolutions” or “new year goals” you’ll have many ideas. We did a mini-study and identified the top 15 promises:
- Exercise more.
- Lose weight.
- Eat healthier.
- Save money.
- Learn a new skill or hobby.
- Read more.
- Quit smoking.
- Spend more time with family and friends.
- Travel more.
- Reduce stress.
- Get organized.
- Live life to the fullest.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Focus on self-care.
- Volunteer and give back to the community.
Each promise is useful and achievable. But do you really need it? Or how can you achieve even more? Let's take a look at it step by step.
How to Set Goals for the New Year
A New Year's resolution is a promise you make to yourself in the new year to start doing something good or stop doing something bad. Going forward, in order for this goal to be achieved, it must resonate with you.
So let's figure out how to set goals for the new year and achieve them.
Cultivate a Positive Mindset
Before you dive into goal setting – tune in to a positive vibe. Your mood has a special influence on your goals, because as you name the boat, so shall it float. For better goal setting, take some time to think about the past year. A great way to do this is to have an end-of-year reflection. It's like having a friendly conversation with yourself where you see what went well and what you want to improve.
Once you know what areas you want to improve, such as spending more time with your family or taking up a hobby, move on to focusing on actions.
List Your Goals
It's time to write down your goals for the new year. Consider the areas of your life that need a boost or changes. Write down general goals you want to achieve. Maybe you want to improve your health, boost your professional skills, or spend more time with your family. After that, identify 3-5 main goals in these areas to focus on. Which one will make the biggest positive changes in your life? Which ones excite you the most? By choosing a few top goals, you won't feel overwhelmed and will be able to do your best where it really matters.
Your goals must inspire you. If the thought of them makes you excited or if they're something you've dreamed about, you're on the right track.
Make Them Specific
The New Year's goals should be specific. To do so use the SMART method. For each of your goals, ask yourself:
- What exactly do I want to achieve?
- How will I measure progress?
- How can I make it achievable?
- Why is this goal important to me?
- What is the time frame for achieving it?
And if your goal feels too big or complex, simplify it by breaking it down into more manageable mini-tasks. For instance, if you aim to run a marathon, start with running short distances and gradually increase them over time. Take baby steps and watch your goals gradually become a reality.
Track Your Goals
Start by writing down your goals and putting them where you will see them every day. It can be on a whiteboard on the fridge, next to your bed, or even a mirror in the bathroom. Here’s a little tip: change the place where you post these reminders every month. Why? When we see something in the same place every day, we start to overlook it. By changing the location, your goals simply stay fresh in your mind.
To track your progress, use printed trackers or digital apps. Printed trackers can be as simple as a checklist on a bulletin board. As for digital solutions, you can use a habit tracker to turn your goals into a fun game or task management apps to organize your goals into real-world steps. We encourage you to try different ways of tracking to find the best one for you.
Tracking your progress isn't just about recording what you do; it's about reminding yourself how far you've come. Every big goal is made up of many small victories. Recognizing your accomplishments, even the small ones, acts as a powerful motivator. For instance, did you manage to read every week this month? Celebrate it! Started exercising? Give yourself a little credit!
Celebrations can be simple: take a moment to recognize your efforts, treat yourself to your favorite coffee, or take a day to relax and take care of yourself. These celebrations create positive reinforcement, keep your well-being, and push you to reach your next goal.
Tips to Keep New Year Goals
Here are five tips to keep you motivated throughout the year.
Your energy is at its peak in the morning. Mornings are usually quieter, making them ideal for focusing on your goals. Why not take advantage of this? Gradually add actions to achieve your annual goal. Start with easy tasks. For instance, if you want to be more active, go for a short walk in the morning. Setting up a morning routine will set a positive rhythm and motivate you.
It's hard to start doing something perfectly, 1000%, especially when you're starting something new. So aim for gradual growth. For example, instead of deciding to practice journaling every day when you've never tried it, start with once a week.
The key is not to let small mistakes completely discourage you. Acknowledge them, learn from them, and then get back on track without self-criticism.
Work On Environment
Change your environment to make it easier to stick to your resolutions. For example, if you want to go to bed earlier, control your light exposure. If you're trying to read more, place books in visible and easily accessible places.
This advice also applies to the people around you. Surround yourself with people who will motivate you, who are interesting to talk to, and whom you enjoy spending time with. This will not only affect your progress, but also your overall well-being.
Our brains prefer to use as little energy as possible. And most of what we do is habitual. So why not put this to good use? Create "mini-habits." These are extremely small, easy-to-do actions that require minimal motivation but gradually grow into significant changes. For example, instead of setting a goal of reading a book a week, start by reading a page in the morning.
Use 'If-Then' Planning
Anything can happen on the way to achieving our goals that will throw us off track. It can be illness, changes at work, or even simple exhaustion. Therefore, we must be prepared for possible obstacles. To do this, we recommend using the scheme: "If [identify possible obstacle], then [a small action that will bring you closer to the goal]." For example, "If I feel like skipping my workout, I'll do yoga for at least 10 minutes." This way, you will have a plan ahead of time and stay motivated.
Remember the excitement you felt at the beginning of the New Year? This is your fuel to keep going! Setting goals is great, but the real magic is in sticking to them. You have everything you need to do that. Break those big goals down into small steps, track your progress, and remember to celebrate every small victory. You can do it. Stay positive, take it one day at a time, and watch yourself fulfill your resolutions. May this year be the best one yet!