4 Ways to Help Your New Year's Resolutions Stick

1/2/2018 6:29:25 PM

Wow. . . 2017 was certainly a year for the books. I am sure there were high highs and low lows for all of us. But with palpable political tension, great tragedies such as the multiple mass shootings that occurred, and natural disasters that ravaged (and are still ravaging) our country and our world, I think we’re all ready to take a deep breath and face 2018 with a fresh hope. I am certainly anticipating a year of positive growth, and hope we can all take what we’ve learned this year and apply it to ourselves and those around us.
It’s common for many to fall into a slump after the holidays, as we head back to work and battle through winter freezes (or, for us, endless rain!), and short daylight hours  We may feel the holiday celebrations were anticlimactic, we may be exhausted, frustrated with our lack of personal growth over the year (a relationship didn’t go how you planned, you didn’t get the promotion you hoped for, etc.) or feel hopeless about the year to come (and adapt the “nothing’s going to change, so why do anything?” mindset).
Needless to say, I can relate. No one is immune from getting a bit of the blues from time to time. However, I’ve found the best antidote is having new things to look forward to. When I take a fresh start to the new year with a sense of purpose and adventure, it makes all the difference in the world. It involves setting new goals to better myself and exploring new ways to contribute to things I’m passionate about! It means taking better care of myself, tracking my personal progress, and not simply waiting for the stars to align (or for other people to change!). There’s a LOT to look forward to when we take a strategic approach.
So, in this season of new hopes and resolutions, here are a few tips to make your 2018 goals really stick and take your life to a whole new level:
  1. Set tangible goals, not generic aspirations. For example, saying “I want to become more philanthropic and outward-focused in the coming year,” doesn’t give you something tangible to work towards. Instead, make a more specific resolution, such as “I would like to start volunteering at the soup kitchen once a month and donating 5 percent of my income to my favorite charity/mission.” See the difference? Measurability improves accountability!
  2. Be realistic. Don’t tell yourself you’d like to buy a new Mercedes if you can’t afford it, or hope you’ll lose 50 pounds if you don’t have time to go to the gym or plan to drastically change your diet! Instead, resolve to buy a safer vehicle with less than thirty thousand miles on it, or to exercising daily and eat healthier. Success with small steps builds momentum!
  3. Involve a friend. If you’re hoping for big change in your life but you’re in it alone, it’ll be much more difficult. With the buddy system, you’ll have accountability and someone to keep you on track (and you can do the same for them). Encouragement builds hope and confidence! Plus, it’s a lot more fun! 
  4. Extend yourself grace. Above all else, be kind to yourself. No one is perfect, and even a small upward movement is better than no movement at all. If you made a mistake and did something you swore you wouldn’t do last year, IT’S OKAY. Tomorrow is a new day, with new opportunities for growth and impact. More often than not, achieving our goals is a “two steps forward, one step back” reality. So, don’t get discouraged when you regress a little. Shake it off, resolve to get back on track today, and remember, you’ve got this! 
So, have at it! As you put away your holiday gifts and decorations, start thinking about what you can do to make 2018 really count for you, your family, and your friends. This will, in turn, have a ripple effect on the world around you. I think we all can agree we want to make this world a better place!
Instead of feeling disappointed that the season is over, be filled with anticipation for what is to come. It’s never too late to better yourself, and this is the perfect time to do it. Good luck!