Surveys across the nation indicate a lot of change in our focus on resolutions. Putting 2020 behind us has assured many that creating better budgets, saving more money, and learning a new skill may be more practical than losing weight or getting a better job.
Studies show only 12 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions feel like they were successful. The good news is that people who “resolve” are still ten times more likely to change their behavior than those who don’t. So, while you may have already missed your chance to start in December, which many experts say is a great way to establish the habit by the New Year, there are many ways you can still follow through.
BE REALISTIC: The surest way to fall short is to make the goal unattainable. Resolving never to spend money on UberEats again will trip you up the first time you’re too tired to cook. Instead, work a goal that is attainable, such as allowing one uber night a week in your budget and sticking to it.
JUST ONE: Psychologists suggest picking one resolution and focusing your energy on that behavior, rather than spreading yourself too thin among different objectives. Taking on too much at once can be daunting, and hard to maintain.
BITE-SIZE: Break goals down to manageable chunks. Set clear, realistic goals such as mastering one Spanish lesson a week, saving $100 a month, or finishing a new book every two weeks. Each small success will empower you for more.
MAKE A PLAN: Don’t overdo it January 2. If you’ve resolved to run a marathon this year, create a plan to run a little more each week and adapt your schedule to your progress. Plan menus to force yourself to learn how to cook one new thing each week, or a reasonable work adjustment, over time, to cut down on answering emails at home.
MEASURE IT: Easy, if your goal is fitness or weight loss, but you may have to get creative for lifestyle behaviors. If, for example, you want to spend less time on social media, download a tracking app to keep you honest and reinforce your progress.
TALK ABOUT IT: Explain what your goals are to friends or family and ask them to help you achieve your objectives. Better yet, enlist the help of others by joining a group that shares your goal.
REWARD YOURSELF: No, you can’t eat a box of chocolates if your resolution is to eat a better diet. Celebrate your success by treating yourself to something that doesn’t contradict your resolution. E.g., if you have been sticking to your promise to eat better, reward yourself with an outfit in your new size.
TRACK PROGRESS: Keep track of each small success, especially if your goal really has no “finish line.” Short-term goals are easier to keep, and each small accomplishment will help keep you motivated. If you resolve for better health, get a 2021 planner and schedule a year’s worth of doctor, yoga, or chiropractic appointments. Crossing each one off the list is a visual reminder of success.
KEEP TRYING: If you get to, say, mid-February and already feel like you didn’t stick the landing, don’t despair—start over. Recommit to it for 24 hours; you can do anything for 24 hours. Those increments will soon build on each other and get you back on track.
If all else fails, you can resolve to buy a bunch of leftover 2020 calendars and enjoy burning them. We can all get on board with that.