Everybody is getting ready to welcome the new year with open arms, and of course, new year resolutions. All of us enter the new year with fresh aspirations and resolves to be better in some ways. Some of us want to lose weight, while some of us want to give up smoking. However, the enthusiasm and the zeal to stick to the resolution doesn’t last very long. Soon enough, we find it hard to stick to our resolve and go back to our old slovenly ways.
This disappoints us, no question, but we never really do anything about it. All that we do, is wait for another year to pass so that we can make another new resolution. Then it becomes an endless cycle of resolving, starting, giving up, and waiting to make a resolution again.
Don’t blame your weak willpower for this though. Your willpower isn’t a separate entity that you can’t control. Willpower is your own strength and determined by your own, well, free will. It is something you can control, change, and strengthen, if you really set your mind at it.
So here’s how to stick to your new year resolutions, and stop being disappointed in yourself:
Set smaller goals
The bigger your goal is, the slower its visible progress rate. Also, big goals are more likely to be impractical and beyond your abilities. So have a big goal, but think of it to be a long-term benefit rather than a goal you’ve to achieve. Set yourself some achievable goals as new year resolutions.
Your new year resolution should not be “I will study 10 hours a day and come first in my batch” when you are a dunce at college. Start with, “I will study two extra hours a day and try to improve my grade by a notch.” Know your limits and abilities, and set smaller, achievable goals. These will have a higher progress rate, and you will achieve them faster before you can give up on them.
Broadcast your new year resolutions to all your loved ones. Or even just tell a person or two about them. This will make you feel accountable to them, and you won’t want to give up. Just the fact that someone knows about your new year resolutions will make you think twice about deviating from your decision. It will be even better if you can tell them to do a progress check on you at regular intervals.
Accountability to others can be a great driving force for you to achieve your resolutions. So go ahead, and tell people about your noble intentions. Who knows, they may actually help you achieve your goals!
Give it 60 days wholeheartedly
Science and internet say that it takes 21 days to build a habit, and 60 days to start sticking to it. This is something a lot of people swear by. And anyway, sticking to a decision for 2 months is better than not doing it at all. So whenever you make a new year resolution, give it just 60 days. Be sure to work wholeheartedly and dedicatedly.
Stick to your resolution for 60 days, and tell yourself that you can give up if you aren’t comfortable till then. Chances are that you won’t even remember about the limit after the 60 days pass. Even if you do give up, at least you stuck to it for 2 months wholeheartedly. And 2 months is enough time to see progress, in anything you resolve to do.
Make it impossible to ignore
Do everything it takes to keep reminding yourself of your new year resolutions. Make big posters and hang them around the house. Set alarms and reminders in your phone. Tell other people to keep reminding you and asking you for updates. Keep yourself surrounded by your new year resolutions. Make your life revolve around them till they become a permanent fixture in it. Basically, make your new year resolution impossible to ignore. If you can’t ignore, you won’t forget. And if you don’t forget, the chances of you giving up will decrease dramatically.
Think of the long-term benefits
Humans are a greedy lot. We only do something if there is some benefit attached to it. No person is ever completely selfless. So the more you think about the benefits of your new year resolutions, the more you will be dedicated to them. Make the long-term benefits a glittery, glaringly obvious presence in your life.
Every time you are at the brink of giving up, think of these benefits. Hype them up so much that you will want to achieve them no matter what it costs. The more you hype these benefits up, the more attractive they will look. And your desire to work towards achieving your new year resolution will increase. Use your human greed to your advantage, and stick to your new year resolutions!
Close your ears, open your mind
Whenever we aspire to change ourselves, there are some nagging voices that want to question our actions. These voices are what discourage us from achieving our goals. Distance yourself from people who aren’t supportive of your new year resolutions, or question your decision. If your loved ones are apprehensive or judgemental, explain to them why your resolution is important to you.
Make them see that doing this will make you happy, and ask them to support you in your decision. If they truly care about you, they will stand by you and not question you. And if they still criticize you for your decisions, they don’t deserve to be in your life. Close your ears to any negative judgments or opinions that may discourage you. However, open your mind to suggestions and feedback, and never dismiss them as discouragement.
Get the support of like-minded people
A support system will make it way easier for you to stick to your new year resolution. Here, by a support system, I mean people who are working toward the same new year resolutions. When you are working towards a goal with like-minded people, each of you will want to push and encourage the others. You will help each other achieve your common goals. And working alone can become monotonous, but working with a solid support system will increase your commitment and also your progress.
So say your new year resolution is to get a toned body. Join a fitness class, or a gym, and make friends there. All of you are there with a common purpose, so use that to bond and also push each other to be better. Once you form such empowering friendships, you will find it easier to stick to your resolution.
Forgive your mistakes
Throughout your journey of sticking to your new year resolution, you will make mistakes. But remember, you are only human, and humans make mistakes all the time. The secret is to forgive yourself and move on. If you keep brooding over your mistakes and feel bad about it, you won’t be able to start afresh. Sometimes, these brooding sessions are the major obstacles that keep you from achieving your goals. Learn from your mistakes, but move on. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake keep you from doing something, or sticking to your decision.
Accept your shortcomings and the fact that you cannot be successful in one day. Progress takes time, but it does happen. Know that you will make more mistakes, but promise yourself that you won’t make the same mistake twice. After you do this, get right back on track with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
Make it interesting
It is hard to stick to a routine that is monotonous and doesn’t have any variety, or excitement. If your new year resolution is something boring, like maybe studying, then you’re more likely to give it up. So try finding exciting ways to achieve your resolutions. Say if you don’t enjoy studying, then make a study group with your friends and make it more fun. You can even find fun animated videos on YouTube that make learning easier and simpler.
Similarly, if you don’t enjoy exercising, join a fun dance class or learn a new form of self-defense. All these are ways to stay active and provide you with a fun workout session. You can also drag a friend along with you to stay motivated and not be bored.
Treat it like a competition
Humans are highly competitive in nature. We compete in everything with everyone, and we always want to be better than the others. So why can’t we compete with ourselves? Treat your new year resolution as a competition you have to win. Make your goal something you are competing for against your former lazy self. Push your limits, just to see if you can defeat the procrastinator in you.
If competing with yourself is too hard, compete with someone else. Try to get someone else committed to achieving the same goal as you want to, and compete with them. This will automatically make you work harder and make greater progress with your new year resolution. And also, stick to it. But remember, do not make this competition dirty. Keep things light and friendly, and your competition healthy.
Always remember, you are the master of your own life. If you set your mind to it, nothing is impossible for you to achieve. Every new year resolution that you make is achievable. All you have to do is to believe in yourself, and be committed to what you want to achieve.