Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Work for You

New Year’s Resolutions–we make them every year, and every year many of us are disappointed at how little we are able to keep up with our resolutions. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips for making the most of your New Year’s Resolutions.

1. Make it small.

Make sure your New Year’s Resolution is less “I will climb Mount Everest” (unless you are a professional climber) and more “I will take a walk around the block.” The easiest way to make sure that you actually meet your New Year’s Resolution is to make that resolution small and manageable. The easiest way to make a small New Year’s Resolution is to think of the resolution that you definitely want to make…and make it smaller. For example, one of my dreams is to write for a bagillion magazines. My (smaller) resolution this year is to write for 12 magazines (yes, only 12). I think I can do that.

2. Make it specific.

New Year’s Resolutions, or goals of any type, are easier to make when you are specific about them. So, instead of making a resolution of, say, “I want to exercise more,” make it your goal to exercise at least 3 times a week (or once a week if you’re like me :). That way, you know exactly how well you are meeting your resolution.

3. Check yourself

Using a checklist is a great way to ensure that you get your New Year’s Resolutions accomplished. So, for example, if your resolution is to exercise at least 3 times per week, then create a simple checklist that you will check off every time you meet your resolution. You can put the checklist in your smartphone, using apps like GoalCheck or GoalTracker (android) or websites like http://www.42goals.com. Even better, you can print out your checklist and hang it up where you (and other people) can see it at least once a day. Having other people know what your goals are can motivate you to keep those goals.

4. Have other people check you

Which brings us to the fourth way to get your goals met. Have someone else support and help motivate you to meet those goals. For example, if your resolution is to wake up at 7am every morning, have a parent or a friend wake you up will help. If your goal is to work out at a certain time a day, have a friend meet you at your designated workout spot. Trust me, when I’ve made plans to do things (even things I don’t necessarily like doing–like studying–with friends, I’m way more likely to actually meet that goal when I’ve made plans in advance to do it with other people. Having other people encourage you or hold you accountable for your dreams is a great way to ensure that those dreams get realized.

5. But don’t get crazy.

The biggest way for me to make sure that I don’t get my New Year’s Resolutions met is to make too many resolutions. Making too many resolutions is a good way to feel overwhelmed. When you feel overwhelmed, you are less likely to do anything. So please, don’t make too many resolutions, try for less than 5. Even better, make less than three New Year’s Resolutions.

6. Have fun!

Take New Year’s Resolutions seriously, but don’t overdo it. Resolutions are supposed to make your life better, not worse. If you find that your goals are no longer fun or beneficial, then yes, it’s perfectly fine to quit them. There’s always next year!

P.S. This post is part of my New Year’s Resolution to write at least 500 words per day. One day accomplished!

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