Tips To Help You Stick To Your New Year's Resolutions
December 29, 2021 - Shauna Jurczak
Every year at this time, I go on a rant about how I hate “New Year’s Resolutions”. The truth is, I think I actually like them. What I don’t like is the idea of having to make a New Year’s Resolution. When you feel forced into something, you’re less likely to put your whole heart into it. You’re less likely to really think it through. Then, in the end, you’re less likely to follow through with it. Hence why so many people reach February and feel like they failed their resolutions.
Think about it. You’re out for the New Year and someone asks, “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?”
You think quickly on your feet and blurt out, “I’m going to be more organized this year.” Only to think in the back of your mind, “I probably won’t. I have no idea how to do it!”
From there on in, every time someone asks about your resolutions you stick with your answer, because you already said it once. It’s an easy answer, but you know it’s not actually going to happen.
Fast forward to February, July, October…and you’ve got every excuse why you couldn’t stick to it.
“I wanted to but my kids…”
“It was going so well, but then this new project at work…”
“I tried, but then I had a migraine…”
Or my favorite…Yes, this was mine about 15 years ago when I had the resolution to drink more water:
“Coffee is made from water, so if I’m drinking more coffee, I’m technically drinking more water”
At that time, drinking more water seemed like the cool answer. I had zero intention to actually do it, but I did feel like I was supposed to set some kind of cool resolution, so I did. I failed.
Resolutions, just to set resolutions, are worthless.
What I do like is people setting new goals, with well thought out plans to both stick to them (accountability is key!) and to follow through to a successful outcome. Sure, that can be done at any time of the year – not just January 1st – but if the New Year motivates you to do some honest goal setting, that is great! Do it!
We’ve all heard of SMART goal setting, and if not, here is a quick summary. Your goals should be:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
What I want to focus on is more about your motivation and your plans for your goals. You can set out smart goals, but if you’re not fully committed to them, if they’re not well thought out, if you heart just isn’t in it, then you will not succeed. I’m not saying that to discourage you. I’m saying it to encourage you to look deeper, and in the end, to succeed. You can have all the excuses in the world for why you didn’t succeed. But do you know what is better? Having all the reasons why you did.
Why will you succeed?
OK, so you’ve decided you’re going to set some New Year’s resolutions, goals, whatever you want to call them. You want to set some good, solid, goals and succeed. I hear you. I want that too. But how? I encourage you to ask yourself the following:
What’s your why?
Why are you setting this goal? Why do you care? Why will this make you better? Happier? Stronger? Weather? What has led you here and why, in your heart or hearts, does this goal mean something to you? If you know that, sticking to it becomes easier.
Write your why down. Write it in your phone, a notebook, on a sheet of paper, anywhere you can look back on it anytime you feel like you’re slipping away from your goal.
What are the benefits?
We all do things to reap rewards, whatever they may be. Some sweat it out at the gym to fit into their favorite pair of pants, while others do it to maintain good health. Either way, there is a benefit to the work.
What are the benefits you will receive if you stick to your goal? What tangible outcomes will there be in the long run?
Write them down, along with your why, so you never forget what you’re working towards.
How will you own your goal?
If you’re not willing to own it, like really own it, do you really, truly want it? Say your goal is to exercise more, but the only time you can fit exercise into your daily routine is before work in the morning. You have two choices:
1. Set the alarm for 6am and do it. Hold yourself to it. Tell your family and friends you’re doing it. Get to work in the morning after and brag about how great you feel for doing it. Or…
2. Hit the snooze button. Tell no one. Insist you’ll do it tomorrow. Repeat.
There are other ways to own it, too:
Use a tracker on your phone or on your paper. Start small (baby steps are key) and slowly build. Checking off or marking down the steps you’re taking will help you see just how far you’ve come along the way.
Shout yourself out when you a reach milestone. Things like: “Step one on my journey to…”, “Completed my first…”, “Been working hard on my…”, “Today’s an awesome day because I…”
Find an accountability buddy. Someone you can check in with. Your sibling, your significant other, your co-worker. Anyone who you can rely on to give you a little boost if you are losing motivation and hold you to your why.
Don’t be afraid to tell people your goal. If you are afraid to tell people, how will you really go after it. You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops, unless you want to. In that case, do it! Either way, big or small, telling your circle about your goal proves to yourself that you are invested.
Whatever it is that makes you feel like the owner of your goal, do it and don’t let anything or anyone take that away from you. Own it, every day until your reach it.
You can have a million reasons to fail – what’s your one reason to succeed?
It is very easy to find the reasons we’ve failed, or even worse, to talk ourselves out of starting because of predetermined reasons for failure. So instead, ask yourself what your one reason to succeed is. This is similar to your why but a bit more definitive. Maybe it’s:
I will succeed so I can improve my health and live a longer life.
I will succeed so I can give my child the best future possible.
I will succeed because this is something I’ve always wanted and I’m not stopping until I get it.
I will succeed because it’s my time and I deserve it.
Again, write that reason down. Look back on it often.
From there – create a plan.
Knowing what you know from answering the above questions, create yourself a plan. It doesn’t need to be big but knowing what little steps you need to take to get to your goal are really important. Those baby steps, the little daily things, the check ins, the sticky notes on your fridge, they all lead you to where you want to be.
Remember, not everything goes to plan, and you have to be ok with that. Just know, your plan is your foundation. If you have a good foundation, you can do renovations on top of it any time. My first business plan was great (in my mind, anyway). It was thirty pages of pure awesome. Twelve years later, my business is still thriving, but it looks absolutely nothing like that original business plan. I’m glad it doesn’t. We’ve grown, evolved, but I’m very grateful that it set out a solid foundation for the business to evolve on over a decade.
Now go forth and conquer!
If you’ve read up to here, you’re already one step closer to success. No go follow the steps you read about today. If you already did it as you were reading, way to go! That’s awesome! Now is your time to shine, but you need to take control of it. It’s your goal to accomplish, not anyone else’s. Your successes, your failures and your accountability, are all yours to own. And when you accomplish your goal, you’ll look back on today with pride, ready to set new goals.
I’m cheering you on. Go get ‘em. You’ve totally got this! Happy New Year!