1) Make reasonable goals
Make goals you know you’ll be able to accomplish. It’s great to shoot for the stars, but you’ve gotta get off the ground first. If a resolution seems too overwhelming, it will be difficult to get started. Also, try making goals in stages. If your ultimate goal is “lose 45 pounds”, start with “lose 15 pounds” then once you get to it, make a second goal until you get to your ultimate one.
2) Make a resolution with a friend
It’s always easier to accomplish a goal when you and a friend can work together. It’s much less frightening starting at a new gym or to finish a school course when you have a friend to motivate and/or commiserate with you.
Can’t find someone brave enough to join you? Instead, try telling your friends your resolutions – tell everybody, the more people you tell, the more you’ll feel accountable for them. That way your friends will be likely to remind you of your goals just by casually inquiring, “So, how are you coming with [insert goal here]?”
Concerned your friends won’t help enough? There’s always the possibility of hiring a Task Runner to help keep you on track. Task runners can call or send motivational emails. They can also provide wake up calls or rides to the gym. You might even be able to find a gym partner!
3) Make specific resolutions
Instead of “eat healthier,” try “eat healthier by cutting out chips and soda” or “eat healthier by eating out less.” Making specific goals does a few things. Firstly, it makes that goal much more concrete. You have a goal, and you also have a path through which to reach that goal. Secondly, it gives you a way to start and takes away that difficult stage of “okay, I have a goal, what do I do now?”
4) Make a plan for your goal
You may have the best intentions to actually follow through with your resolutions this year, but without a step-by-step plan, you’ll find it difficult to know where to start. After making your more specific goal (“lose 15 pounds by working out” or “Make a comprehensive budget on Mint.com”) come up with a step-by-step plan to accomplish your goal. Example: “lose 15 pounds by working out 3 times a week” Plan: MWF 30 mins Strength, 30 mins Cardio from 5-6pm after work at X Gym on X Street. Step One: Sign up for Gym Membership. Step Two: Sign up for Personal Training Session. Step Three: Track Weight Loss (etc).
Without a plan, your goal will remain a vague idea that will turn into an excuse: “I don’t know where to start!”
5) Get an app for it
Smart phones have made following through with your resolutions so much easier because of the various applications available to track your goals. For example, Calorie Counter Fitness Pal takes in your weight loss goal and gives you a comprehensive plan to reach it. The Mint.com application helps you keep track of your budget – combining all your bank and credit cards in one place. Regardless your resolution – as they say in those annoying commercials – there’s an app for that.
6) Give yourself a deadline
This is very important. Without deadlines in mind, it will be easy to keep putting off your resolutions. And don’t give yourself all year. As we mentioned earlier in this article, make goals in stages. Start smaller and with a closer deadline. Of course, it’s good to keep the larger goal in mind as well. Example: “Lose 15 pounds by March, lose 45 by August.”
7) Work it into your Routine
The more work you put into your goal on a daily basis, the easier it will be in the future. Perhaps your goal is to keep your house cleaner and more organized – start making the conscious effort to put things where they belong the first time, instead of tossing things on your bed or couch. Eventually, it will become habit to put things away, and you won’t even have to think about it anymore.
Keep in mind that it’s perfectly reasonable to conquer only one goal at a time. Of course it’s going to feel impossible to eat healthier, go to the gym, quit smoking, and wake up earlier if you try to change all those things at once. Instead, try to figure out which of them is most affecting the others and start there. For example, perhaps if you go to sleep earlier you can wake up earlier and then you won’t feel the need to eat so much sugar or caffeine to stay awake during the day. That, in turn, will make you feel less stressed and it will become easier to quit smoking. Don’t expect your body to immediately adapt to the change, either. Our bodies need time to get over a dependency and that will certainly take a lot of effort and even pain on your part. Stick it out the best you can – everything gets easier after the first few weeks.
8) Start today!
There is no better day than today to get started on your resolutions. The more you put it off, the harder it will become to get started!