5 Proven Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s is really the best of the holidays. Yes, you get to see family and have great food for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that pales in comparison to receiving a fresh perspective for what is ahead.
It’s always an inspiring feeling – isn’t it? Dreaming about your big plans and having high hopes for the unknown.
While you can give yourself this kind of rebirth any time of the year, there is something about everyone passing a year in time together and approaching a new and blank slate which solidifies your ability to change at the start of each year.
As our first year married, my husband and I got to think through what we wanted out of 2017 together. While we had some intents as a couple, most of our resolutions were separate. The thing we have in common with most of them is to grow. We want to gain new perspectives, learn about subject matters we have never delved into, and push outside of our comfort zone.
For this to be realistic, there are some practical ways to approach these resolutions that can help you stick to your goals and be part of the 9.2% that feel that they were successful in achieving their resolution.
1. Write Down Your Resolutions and Be Specific
Whatever they are, get those goals down. It’s not enough to have them up in your head and hope for the best. Writing it on paper really solidifies what you want to achieve.
Choose a resolution that you can measure (and one that is realistic), so you can keep track of how you are doing. Instead of “read more,” choose how many books you want to read in what amount of time. Instead of listen to more podcasts, aim for one a week and write it down on your list.
In a study done by Dr. Gail Matthews at the Dominican University on strategies to achieve goals, she found that those who wrote their goals were more likely to accomplish their goals or be at least half way there than those who did not.
Even just writing down your goals gives you a better chance of success.
2. Get Your Friends in on the Action
Get this. Dr. Matthews also found that people who gave weekly updates to a friend were even more likely to accomplish goals. A huge 76% of the people who wrote down goals, actions, and sent weekly progress reports accomplished their goals or were at least half way there by the end of the study.
Sharing with friends keeps you accountable. Pick someone – a college friend, spouse, sibling, parent. etc. – and choose how often you will update them on your goals.
If it is a weight loss goal, maybe choose once a week to talk about your weight loss and what you’ve done throughout the week to accomplish that. If it is a savings goal, maybe biweekly or monthly is a better option to go over your savings statements.
Either way, stick to a steady progress report to see your goals come to life.
3. Review Your Goals At Least Once Every Quarter
In Dr. Matthew’s study, people sat down and did an evaluation of their goals each week. While not everyone has time for that, this speaks volumes to what can be achieved through giving yourself evaluations and really paying attention to what you have accomplished in a set period of time.
People set up quarterly goals in the business world, so why not apply it to your personal life since it is just as important? Since New Year’s Resolutions are typically more relaxed goals, once every 3 months allows good feedback of how you are doing on your accomplishments.
4. Make Your Goals Visible
Put your list of goals somewhere you can see them every day. The decisions that you make throughout the day will more likely attribute to your goals if you have a clear memory of what those goals are.
Edwin A. Locke at the University of Maryland studied how people were motivated through goal setting and formed a Goal-Setting Theory. One of the findings of the theory was goals affect performance by affecting the direction of action, the degree of effort exerted, and the persistence of action over time.
Stay motivated and change your actions by remembering the goals you set in the first place by having reminders around you.
5. Make Resolutions That Are Outside of Your Comfort Zone
In a Goal Setting and Task Performance study by E.A. Locke, K.N. Shaw, L.M. Saari, and G.P. Latham, they concluded that specific and challenging goals led to higher performance than easy, “do-your-best,” or no goals 90% of the time. This was based on 110 different experiments. Even though this was based on experiments done and not people’s personal goals, it tells about how we operate as people to goals we are given.
So let’s set our own goals. If you want to be the best self that you can be this year by growing and actually performing at your highest capacity, set yourself some specific and challenging goals. It’s easy to just say you want to lose weight, but to really add a number to it is a challenge and it’s going to push you.
While some of my goals are basic, others are going to require effort on my part. Therein lies the challenge and I am ready to accept it. Challenge accepted.
Each year has new possibilities and goal-setting is a great way to accomplish these. What are some ways that you keep your New Year’s Resolutions?