As the first month of 2018 comes to a close, many individuals find themselves struggling to maintain the resolutions they’ve vowed to keep. According to research done by the University of Scranton, it’s estimated that only 8% of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually see them them through. The demanding new hobbies, diets, and gym memberships quickly begin to lose their appeal and can even transform into an intimidating and unnecessary stress. But before you spout excuses, claiming that “there’s just no time!” or questioning ‘“is it even worth it?” it’s important to remember the reasons behind your resolutions. Chances are, they were meaningful in the moment and remain so. Believe it or not, there are ways to ensure that you meet your own expectations in the new year and keep them.
First off, be as specific as you can when making your resolutions, and don’t attempt to make life-altering changes. If you can’t see yourself achieving your objectives, you’re probably starting off too big. Focus on an area you really want to improve on, or a single skill you have always wanted to perfect. Even if you’ve already made your resolutions, (it is February after all), don’t be afraid to tweak them a bit. Try to determine whether or not they’re realistic; that is, determine if you can incorporate them into your daily life with ease, or a little work. Remember, it is a change, so it shouldn’t be too easy.
Another thing to consider is writing down your resolutions, or speaking them outloud to yourself or another. This may be helpful if you’re at that point where the prospect of giving in is all too tempting. When you move your goals from your mind onto paper, you give them a real, physical meaning. Similarly, when you have another person hold you accountable for your words, such as a friend or family member, you’re much more likely to stay committed to them. Vocalizing your goals for the year ahead is one of the best ways you can stay on task in accomplishing them.
If your resolution is something that can be measured, definitely do so. Tracking your progress throughout is extremely important, not only so you can evaluate how far you’ve come, but also so you can reward yourself when you deserve it. If you’ve finally reached that checkpoint or defining moment that you’ve been working up to, acknowledging that success will help push you to continue. Try taking a picture or writing down your accomplishments, however small. Reflecting on how you began and comparing that to what you’re currently capable of is a great incentive for further progress.
Perhaps the most valuable takeaway, though, is that even if you fail to meet your resolutions in the first months of 2019, there’s still ten more months that follow. January may be the month of new beginnings, but if you’re determined enough, you can achieve your goals any time of year.