With 2012 right around the corner, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds (besides the partying on New Year’s Eve of course) is “What will I do to make a change this year?” We all make resolutions: to lose weight, stop smoking, save more money, travel to Europe…and yet so many of us end up breaking our resolutions just as quickly as we make them. Here are some tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolution and making 2012 the best year yet!
1. Be Realistic
Don’t make a resolution that isn’t suitable to your lifestyle. Make one that you can incorporate into your schedule, even if you have to work a little harder to make it work. Remember, these are supposed to make you happy! Set goals for yourself that aren’t too far fetched and they’ll be easier to accomplish.
2. Set Specific and Measurable Goals for Yourself
When you make specific goals, it is easier to track your success (or setbacks) and keep yourself on track. Don’t just say “I want to lose a lot of weight.” Say “I want to lose 5 pounds this month” and keep journals of your weekly weigh-ins, workouts and eating habits.
3. Go in on a resolution with a friend
Anything can be fun if you’re doing it with a friend, and friends keep us inspired and enthusiastic about accomplishing our goals. Not only will you receive support from your friend, but you can also support them! If your resolution is to try new things, for example, sign up for cooking lessons together. It will feel less like a resolution and more like quality time with a good pal.
4. Come up with a plan BEFORE New Year’s
When you map out your resolutions before January 1st rolls around, you’re able to mentally and physically prepare yourself. It will be much easier than diving right into it and not knowing what to expect, which will likely lead in immediate failure.
5. Keep your goals in sight…literally
If you resolution is to budget yourself better, keep a little index card in your wallet with a little message like “do I really NEED this?” that will save you from those impulse purchases (even though that life sized Justin Bieber poster is SO tempting). If you’re trying to quit smoking, hang a picture of a black lung on your bedroom door. Okay, this might be pushing it a little but do you really want your lung to look like that?? Didn’t think so.
6. Reward Yourself
Just because you might be giving up some things doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every once in a while! Say you want to get into better shape and eat healthier. If you lose a few pounds, don’t reward yourself with Krispy Kreme (as hard as this may be…)! Ditch the donuts and go get a manicure or buy yourself a cute shirt (which may even be a size smaller than your other shirts). Rewarding yourself will motivate you to keep working hard.
7. Don’t make too many resolutions
It’s much easier to concentrate on one or two goals rather than taking on a bunch. Devote your dedication to a couple resolutions and you’ll see much better results.
8. Start Small
You can’t expect that you’ll accomplish anything major the first week in January. It takes time for us to kick habits or try out new things. Give it time- it’s a learning process! There will be setbacks, but there will also be success if you start with small goals and work your way up from there.
9. Keep track of your progress…and setbacks
Keeping a journal or log of your accomplishments will keep you motivated. But also keep track of where you messed up! When you write down where you had a set back, you can learn from your mistakes and move on from them. Knowing what works and what doesn’t work will help you keep your resolution and know the right way to accomplish your goals. So you didn’t make it to that art class on Tuesday…don’t stress! Make an effort to go the next week (and you watched a TV special on Mozart on Sunday night. Good job!).
10. Always maintain a positive attitude
Nothing ever comes easy when making resolutions, but it’s important to always remember that we wouldn’t have made them in the first place if we didn’t really want to see this change in ourselves. When we stay positive, even throughout the setbacks and difficulties, we not only motivate ourselves but also those around us who may be struggling.