How to Stick to Your Resolutions

Every New Year is the same: we start with big plans for the year, clinging to the idea that this year will finally be the one where we get our lives together and become the best versions of ourselves we can be. If you’re anything like me, however, those plans usually fall by the wayside as soon as February comes around. Something about the icy cold air and daylight savings really just sucks all the motivation out of me, leaving me curling up in my bed and neglecting all my aspirations for the year ahead. But this year, I’m going in with a game plan.

Sticking to resolutions for the new year is something that many people struggle with. We start off strong, but soon enough, the gyms start getting emptier, our snack pantries get fuller, and our alarms get snoozed faster. It can feel very discouraging when we fall off the proverbial wagon, but success doesn’t come without some hiccups along the way, especially when putting so much stress on yourself to strictly adhere to new routines that you haven’t done before.

This year, I’m being kinder to myself and setting monthly goals that will help me achieve my yearly ones. Too often, I dive headfirst into the deep end at the beginning of the year, flailing amongst new routines and pressures, which ultimately leads to my own failure to meet these goals. Forming new routines doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and consistency to meet your targets.

Start by making realistic goals for the year. Look at every aspect of your life: school, finances, relationships, health, career, etc. Think about what you want each piece of your life to look like and write it down. Think of these goals as being the finish line at the end of your year instead of an immediate to-do list of tasks. This puts less stress on you to make quick, yet temporary, changes.

To avoid putting off these goals, which can happen when viewing them as end of year targets, make a monthly plan of how you will work toward these goals to achieve the bigger picture you envisioned.
For example, many people have the goal of becoming physically healthier and rush into buying an expensive gym membership and a closet full of workout clothes instead of starting slow and working up.

If you don’t work out at all, it’s going to be a shock to both your body and your mindset if you jump right into it. Start by working out twice a week or achieving 15 minutes of movement every day. As each month progresses, increase your monthly objective until you have a consistent, manageable routine that will stick.

According to Forbes Health, an improved diet is one of the most common resolutions, with 32% of their survey respondents setting some kind of dietary goal. This aim, however, can be very dangerous because it leads people to try strict, harmful diets or detoxes as a way to lose weight or try to improve their health.
It’s important to go into this resolution with a healthy mindset. Although it’s perfectly alright to want to lose weight or want to eat healthier, you should always do it in a healthy, self-sustaining way.

Start off by incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet instead of beginning your year by restricting yourself from certain foods. Make your first monthly objective to be to add a fruit or veggie into each of your daily meals. Then, start finding or making snacks that make you feel good. Later on, you can push yourself to not eat out as much, both in an effort to increase your health and decrease unnecessary spending. Eating healthier is a whole lot easier when you allow yourself to still indulge in the things you love while also getting all your necessary vitamins and minerals.

One of my big targets for the year is to improve my finances by contributing more to my savings and decreasing my reliance on credit cards. While this seems daunting when looking at the big picture, breaking these goals into smaller monthly objectives has helped them seem more manageable.

My plan to start working on these in January is to decrease unnecessary spending by not eating out unless it’s dine-in and not making coffee splurges for the whole month. I spend so much money on little drinks or drive-thru orders that I could put to so much better use. I have coffee and food at home that I’m letting go to waste.

While a small treat is okay every now and then, my spending was getting out of control with these small yet frequent purchases, so I really wanted to challenge myself to get out of that mindset of needing to buy these things to feel satisfaction and instead be more mindful and make things that I actually enjoy with things I already have.

How you approach these monthly goals is completely up to you, whether you start off super slow to ease yourself into a new routine or begin by challenging yourself with smaller goals. By creating monthly targets, you take the pressure off of yourself and prevent the burn-out that too often accompanies New Year’s resolutions. Achieving your yearly improvements is possible, it just takes a little shift in mindset!