Five ways to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions

By Nikol Stoykova

We all know that with January comes the time to pull yourself back together, slim down after feasting on your mum’s specials, get back on track with the uni work you fell behind on during the holidays, and save twice the money you spent on gifts last year. But did you know that while 100% of us enter the new year with some grand expectations in mind and 50% of us have a very ambitious list of resolutions in hand, only 6% of people actually feel accomplished by the end of it? So instead of beating yourself up over some quite unrealistic intentions, why not avoid the imminent disappointment and self-loathing of falling behind by following IH’s simple tips on how to start the new year off on the right foot—and keep up the momentum for good.

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1. Narrow down your list

Before declaring you’re going to cut down on all sugar and fat, try thinking first about cutting down on your list of New Year resolutions. The more you have, the bigger the failure you are setting up for yourself. Don’t expect that you’re going to change every single aspect of yourself overnight; keep it real and stick to one, two, or at the very best three concrete and realistic resolutions. Cutting down means avoiding the trap of being too vague as well: forget about ‘losing weight’ or ‘reading more’. And that brings me onto my next tip…

2. Break everything down

If you want to succeed, planning is your best friend, and big vague promises are your worst. Think in numbers and break down the big intimidating goals into baby steps. You want to read more, but how much more? In order to see a change, you need a point of comparison. ‘Losing weight’ won’t do the trick, but trying to fit back into your old jeans might be a step closer to getting you there. And if you write it down and plan how to tackle it, you’re already halfway there: visualization is half the realization.

3. Don’t think All-or-Nothing

A grand mistake of all passionate resolution makers is throwing away everything once they slip up. Not going to the gym for a day because you’re feeling lazy or spending a few extra pounds on that cute top that drew you in as you were walking by the store won’t make you a failure. But giving up because you derailed once and creating a vicious circle out of that one mistake will. What’s even worse, you’ll stop enjoying the luxury of occasionally indulging if you compensate for having a few scoops of ice cream for dessert by eating the whole tub.

4. Bring a friend

There’s nothing better than a friend, right? And resolutions aren’t necessarily about blood, tears, and eternal suffering; working on yourself could be even fun! Hopping on the NY resolutions bandwagon with a friend can bring some extra motivation and help both of you get on track by keeping each other accountable. Going for a run doesn’t seem as intimidating when you have a jogging buddy, and going through all the uni work can’t be that terrifying with a study buddy!

5. Be kind to yourself

Finally, don’t forget that the New Year and all the expectations it inevitably brings is merely a social construct, and all the pressure it can bring is simply an abstraction. Don’t get too caught up in any incredible three-month transformations and even if you fail with every single one of your new year’s resolutions, don’t punish yourself and always remember all the incredible qualities you have. After all, good things always take time, and most, if not all, radical overnight changes are never bound to remain a valuable or sustainable lifestyle choice. Remember IH believes in you and wishes you a wonderful year ahead!

Image Credit: CC by New Year's Resolutions/Flickr