It has become a tradition to start the New Year by setting new goals. The idea of promising ourselves at least one positive change in our daily lives is very tempting, but the truth is that making that happen is not as easy as we would like…
Is it possible to stick to our New Year's resolutions throughout the year? We are convinced that it is - with the right attitude and a few tried and tested tricks up our sleeve.
Before throwing ourselves into the deep end by setting huge goals, it is a good idea to check how habits are formed. Habit building has been a favorite topic for researchers for years. There are several studies on how they are formed and how we can change them in our daily lives. Fortunately, their conclusions are well described and have a special place in popular literature. Bestsellers in this category include books such as The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Atomic Habits by James Clear. In addition to providing clarity on the formation of habits from a scientific point of view, they also offer practical advice applicable in everyday life.
Often at the beginning of the year we hope to “lose a few pounds”, “be more productive” or “exercise more often”. So what’s the problem? The answer is quite simple - there are no specifics. Instead of setting an ambitious and major goal, it is good to look into the details. This way we can easily set apart the unattainable goals and focus on something more realistic and easier to achieve. Instead of “more sports”, set a specific number of workouts per week or month. Instead of aiming to be more productive, explore different practices and incorporate them into your agenda. That way you will turn your desires into specific actions that are easy to implement.
Proper planning for your resolutions is the key to their implementation. It’s a good idea to break down big goals into smaller milestones and set them over a short period of time. This way you will have a sense of success and maintain your motivation throughout the year. And how can you make tracking them easy? It depends entirely on your preferences. If you like to keep notes, pick a beautiful planner or calendar - Moleskin or the classic Bullet Journal for example, or Remindart for the more romantic types. For those of you who do not part with their electronic devices, there are several apps that will do the trick.
We often tend to forget the promises we have made to ourselves. In many cases, this changes when we declare our goals out loud or in front of someone close to us. Not only will it help you take the commitment more seriously, but it can also bring you empathy, support, and perhaps even make others join in too! So be brave - share your goals on social media, with your family or directly with your friends!
Lessons from the Past
Let’s face it, we already know that this will not be the first year that we make New Year's resolutions. But so far, have you been able to keep going up until Valentine’s Day at least? If you have managed to keep on adhering to your resolutions so far, you can certainly benefit from the practices you’ve followed. But if you haven’t managed - do not lose hope, try to learn from it. Go back to the goals you set for yourself last year and think about why you didn't meet them. This will help you plan the implementation of this years’ resolutions in a new way without repeating old mistakes.
Regardless of what goals you set, it is important to remember that they are not achieved instantaneously. Be persistent, because even the smallest step brings you closer to the ultimate goal than standing still does.