If you’re one of many making resolutions for the New Year, we have a few tips to help you keep them beyond tomorrow. Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. One of the best things you can do is create realistic goals that you can measure as you go. Small successes along the way will keep you committed.
Turn a resolution into a habit with these five tips:
Schedule it. Resolutions require time, which means they’re the first to go when we get busy. Schedule time on your calendar to do things that keep you committed. Want to eliminate stress? Pencil in a 30-minute bubble bath or yoga class. Want to save money? Set aside 20 minutes once a week to clip coupons. (link to gallery?)
Set monthly goals. When a resolution is fresh in our minds, we tend to approach it with more vigor and commitment. So instead of thinking about the whole year, break it down by month. If eating healthier is your goal, then focus on eliminating sugary beverages and drinking more water in January. In February, fill half of every plate with fruits and vegetables. Focus on one new habit each month and you’ll have a whole bevy of positive changes by the end of the year.
Tap your resources (especially the free ones). There are so many tech tools that can make resolutions easier. Budgeters should take advantage of free banking alerts when your account hits a low threshold or online software like Mint.com that tracks your spending and progress towards savings’ goals. Dieters can use apps like Fooducate to scan labels for nutrition grades and get recommendations on healthier alternatives.
Enlist accountability. Everything is easier with a friend. Sign up for a 5k together and you’ll have a training partner with shared goals. Look for online forums or in-person support groups for quitting smoking and you’ll have an instant community of support. Share your progress on social media sites and you’ll be motivated by encouragement from friends and family.
Reassess your goals. It’s important to revisit resolutions and see what’s working. If you decided to start budgeting, then set a date with yourself after a month or two to evaluate your spending. If going to the gym 3 times a week after work is cutting into your family time, then adapt your resolution and try taking lunchtime walks at least twice a week. A resolution is not set in stone, so rather than throwing in the towel, figure out how to make it work for you.
Final tip: This is a great time to teach your kids about setting goals and the importance of committing to healthy change. For a young child it could be as simple as brushing their teeth twice a day or trying a new sport. For older kids, it could be volunteering or starting a saving’s account.