2019 is the year that you’re finally going to lose the weight you put on freshman year, learn mandarin and pay off your credit card debt! Or is it? Be honest with yourself, did you achieve any resolutions you made for last year? Do you even remember what they were? Well, there’s a decent chance you did. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 46 percent of people who made New Year’s Resolutions were successful. As for the other 54 percent, well, 2019 is your year. It’s time for you to actually follow through on your resolutions and here’s how to do it.
Get ready for some big changes
There’s this quote I remember seeing on a wooden plank at my aunt’s house. It was one of those really cliche ones that said something along the lines of “your actions become your habits, habits become character, and character becomes your destiny.” While this did make me cringe when I read it, there is definitely some truth to its sentiment. If you want to be successful in achieving your resolutions this year, you’re going to need to change a lot of your habits to center them around this goal you have in mind. Think back to last year, and think about what things you wanted to accomplish and what you actually did manage to accomplish. Think about what led you to accomplishing some of the things you wanted as opposed to others, and think about all of the sacrifices you had to make along the way.
Make sure your goal motivates you
Don’t create a resolution for the sake of being festive, it won’t last longer than two weeks. Really spend the time to create a very personal goal that is important and special to you and only you. Some things to consider when setting a resolution: your goals (what you hope to achieve from setting this), your priorities, your dreams and your aspirations. Don’t be afraid to create a big, lofty resolution that might take a few years to develop into something huge, but also set priorities when it comes to your resolutions. If you really want to visit Paris that’s great, but maybe you need to wait to get there because you also need to pay off some debt. Make it a resolution to at least save up half the money you’ll need, but also prioritize the other resolution that you know you can achieve now.
Limit your resolutions
Like I said before, you might be able to lose the weight you put on freshman year, learn mandarin and pay off your credit card debt in one year. But you need to approach these goals in a realistic way, and you probably shouldn’t be trying to add anything else to your plate. Think about how much time you can realistically devote to each resolution you make, and remember that it’s better to accomplish one resolution well than multiple ones poorly.
It’s acronym time. The acronym you need to achieve your goals is SMART. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time sensitive. Instead of saying that you want to lose a lot of weight, say, I want to lose 15 pounds by April and another 10 by November.
Break your goals up
I said before, feel free to create a big, lofty resolution. But tackle that beast in pieces. Don’t just go for the whole body, go for its arms, legs, etc. For your very big goals, I would suggest breaking things down and creating a 12-month plan. Figure out where you want to be in achieving this goal by the end of February, March, April, etc. Even setting a goal each week that will help you in achieving you resolution helps.
Share with others
While you shouldn’t create a goal for anyone else but you, you should still be willing to share your goal with others. This holds you more accountable, but also gives you an added incentive to keep pushing. You want others to feel happy when you achieve your goals, and you don’t want to let them down by not. Sometimes guilt is the motivator that you need. It also helps to find people with similar goals to your own, and keep up with each other as you make progress in achieving them.
If you don’t remember your resolutions from last year or the year before, then I wouldn’t blame you. It’s easy to forget that we have resolutions in mind, but you should constantly be looking back and thinking about your goal each month. Try to schedule a monthly “big picture” meeting with yourself at the beginning of each month to see your progress and to break things down throughout the month. Visual cues also help! Try to keep post-it notes or anything else around that can help to constantly remind you of your goals.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Sometimes, life gets in the way of things, and that’s just something we can’t control. If you don’t make any progress for one month or even two or three when it comes to achieving your goal, don’t see that as a failure. Even accomplishing only 20 percent of what you wanted to achieve is not a failure, so if you slip up, don’t let that stop you remember that in the grand scheme of things, tiny slip ups here and there are not going to hold you back unless you let them.