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Love them or hate them; everyone seems to have them. It’s the time of year when everyone starts to think about what they want to achieve in the New Year.
New Year’s resolutions are supposed to be the start of new habits, significant changes, shifts in focus and the beginning of a new you and a happier life. It’s a chance for self-improvement and endless possibilities.
But the reality is that most people tend not to stick to their New Year’s resolutions, but maybe there’s a reason for that.
So how can you make your resolution and stick to it?
Here are a few options that will hopefully help keep you on track for 2023…
Why do most New Year’s Resolutions fail?
Did you know that only around 10% of Americans are successful in sticking to New Year’s resolutions for the entire year, despite over 40% setting them?
And in addition, most resolutions fail at an early stage - possibly because they are made during a holiday period. What might seem a good idea in the height of celebration might not seem so good during the morning hangover on 1st January.
Of those who make a New Year’s resolution, 75% are still successful in keeping it after one week. The number drops to 71% after a fortnight and 64% after a month - before unsurprisingly petering off throughout the year.
So, why is this?
There are a couple of reasons…
Firstly, most set an unrealistic goal rather than a slight change. It’s unlikely that you will change your life in just one year (although you can certainly start).
Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular resolutions is to eat a healthier diet. 43% of Americans chose this as their top resolution. Eating healthier, exercising more often and losing weight are the top choices. Set small and realistic goals - this will help you reach them and maintain motivation throughout the year.
Secondly - make sure your goal is for you. If you set goals for other people, you’ll be less intrinsically motivated. You might manage to keep them for a while, but unless you want them - you’re unlikely to keep them.
New Year’s Resolution Ideas
Think about a positive change you’d like to make for yourself. There is no point in just picking a resolution off a shelf and expecting to stick to it, but here are some ideas for you.
- Trying to lose weight.
- Cutting out or reducing your alcohol intake
- Trying to eat healthier
- Going to the gym a certain number of times each week
- Learning a new language
- Travelling to a specific part of the world
- Taking up a new sport or new hobby
- Improving your mental health
- Learning a new skill
- Leading a more fulfilling life
- Increase your self-confidence
- Read a new book each month
- Getting into healthy habits
- Trying to save money or earn more money
- Finding a new job
- Eliminating a bad habit
The best resolutions tend to be achievable and have a positive impact. If you’re struggling to think of something, try to visualize where you would like to be at this time next year.
Would you like to be fitter, thinner, wealthier, happier or more educated?
Then work out the path you need to take to get to that place. You will likely have to adopt a new routine in your daily life to accommodate and ensure that you can achieve it.
Any New Year's resolution ideas should be something you choose yourself and not chosen for you. Don't let others tell you the path you should take in the upcoming year. It should be about self-care and improving on the past year.
But how can you set yourself up with the best chance of success for sticking to those specially selected resolutions?
Make a realistic plan.
Setting resolutions is easy, but remember that amazing things can happen if you take it one step at a time. Small changes can make a big difference, so don’t set the bar too high.
For example, if you resolve to lose two stone in weight, that’s roughly 2 pounds per month over a year. If you are trying to lose the same amount of weight over a few months, you may find yourself struggling and giving up on the goal.
If your target is within a realistic range and you consistently hit it each month, you’ll find it much easier to continue and not fall off the wagon. A to-do list is a good idea.
If you are dedicated to the cause, make sure you pat yourself on the back as the month progress. Reward yourself for sticking to the plan.
Treating yourself to a huge cream cake when you’re on a weight loss plan isn’t the best of ideas, but think of appropriate ways to give yourself an incentive each month for sticking to your resolution.
Find a “resolution buddy.”
If you have the same goal as a friend or family member, you’ll find it’s much easier to stick to the resolution if someone has your back.
If you encourage each other and check in on each other regularly, you’ll find it easier to commit.
Keep track of your progress.
As the months go by, keep a note of your progression. This way, you can look back at how well you’ve done, and it will also help keep you on track.
If you can make a visual image of your progress, such as a graph, then that’s even better.
Some days or weeks are more difficult than others, but preparing for this will be much easier. Try to visualize how you will feel if you stick to your resolution and the benefits you’ll reap.
Anticipate the fact that it will be challenging at times. It’s unlikely that anyone has ever sailed through the year and conquered their resolution without some level of difficulty along the way.
The other thing to remember is that a high percentage of resolutions fail in the first couple of months. Therefore, if you can get through these tricky times, it will seem much easier after that.
If for some reason, you feel unable to stick to the plan, take a break of a couple of weeks and start again. You don’t have to give up entirely.
Ready to stick to those New Year’s Resolutions
Everyone struggles to keep a New Year’s resolution, so you won’t be alone if you find it hard. Choose a realistic goal and take small steps to make it happen. If you make this long-term commitment, check in every so often to track your progress and reward yourself.
And remember no hard and fast rule that states you have to begin on 1st January. If you want to set a later date when you feel you’ll be more prepared, that’s fine.
And finally, everyone struggles from time to time. If you fall off the “horse,” you can just get back on it again.
Make the new year a cracker.