How to Make a New Year’s Resolution That You Can Actually Keep
The end of the holidays and the start of a new year has everyone coming up with resolutions to make the year better than the one before. It’s a way to look over the responsibilities of “real life” that we have to take up after enjoying a few weeks off from work. With a resolution, you get over the back to work blues with the goal to change something in your life for the better. That is until mid-January when real life woes take over your ambitious goals. And just like that, another new year’s resolution forgotten until the next January.
Why Is It So Hard to Keep a New Year’s Resolution?
Don’t worry if you’ve given up on your new year’s resolution early in the year, you’re definitely not alone. Just check out the January gym spike phenomenon where membership sign ups increase significantly, but after a few weeks, attendance becomes less regular and membership sales decrease.
It’s hard to keep a New Year’s resolution past the third week of January because most people don’t make the right ones. Hard-to-keep resolutions fail because:
- It’s too broad
Let’s take the classic New Year’s resolution, “this year, I want to lose weight.” Okay, that’s definitely a goal, but there’s a lot missing. How much weight do you want to lose? By when?
Such a broad resolution is hard to reach because there’s no obvious goal. You can technically lose 5 pounds and keep your resolution, but that’s barely making the big difference a resolution is supposed to cause.
Instead try a resolution like this, “this year, I want to lose 15 pounds by the end of March and keep it off for the rest of the year.” Now you have tangible, specific goals that you can work to achieve.
- It’s based on other people’s opinions.
Sometimes people make resolutions that they think other people around them want to make. Take, for example, someone quiet who makes a resolution to speak up more. They may be comfortable being a quiet person, but feel pressure from others to be more of an extrovert, giving a reason to resent the resolution and therefore more reluctant to act on it.
- There’s no set plan to follow through.
Just like being too broad, it’s hard to achieve a goal if you don’t know how you’re going to do it. Unfortunately speaking your goal into existence isn’t your only responsibility. From your new, more specific resolution, you can set smaller, easily achievable goals to keep you moving forward.
For instance, losing 15 pounds by March can mean having a goal to lose 5 pounds every month. You can then get even more specific with weekly goals that include a regular exercising schedule and healthier foods to try.
You are your best cheerleader, but keeping a resolution is much easier with the support of friends and family. Use the encouragement as motivation to keep going!