How To Stay On Top Of Your New Year Resolutions
2021 has come and gone in a blink of an eye, leaving us with a blank canvas and an abundance of opportunities lying ahead in 2022. These opportunities typically coincide with January’s new year resolutions setting and mapping of the year ahead. Preparation creates opportunity… right?
- A New Year’s Resolution is a promise to do something differently
- The why behind your resolution is arguably more important than the resolution itself
- Find an accountability buddy and set clear, quantifiable goals
Individuals tend to set high expectations for themselves and are determined to transform their work-life, build meaningful relationships, and more through habitual changes. And despite their best intentions for themselves, about 80% of people abandon their New Year Resolution by February.
If this statistic hits home for you, but you’re bound and determined to ensure your New Year Resolution(s) stick this year, you are in the right place. Creating and sticking to a New Year Resolution can be tough, especially without tools or tactics.
Luckily, we have your back. After today, I promise, you will have an arsenal of tools and tactics to help create a meaningful, long-lasting New Year Resolution. Let’s dive right in.
What are New Year Resolutions?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a New Year Resolution is defined as “a promise to do something differently in the New Year,”. Doing something differently, as the Cambridge Dictionary points out, is starting to “do something good” or stopping “something bad” on the first day of the year. So, New Year’s Resolutions can not only start new habits, but they can also break old ones as well.
Both definitions above leave out a crucial component of a New Year’s resolution - the why. Why do people promise to do something differently in the New Year? What is their motivation? Typically, the answer to this question involves pressure from others setting New Year’s Resolutions or the innate drive to change something about their life.
Additionally, individuals see the New Year as a perfect time to change something due to the fact that it is a temporal milestone thus it creates what is known as the “fresh-start effect,”. According to polls over three consecutive years, 44% of Americans reported they were likely to set a New Year’s Resolution for the upcoming year.
Here were the top 5 New Year’s Resolutions set in 2021 in the United States.
- Exercising/Improving Fitness (50% of Americans)
- Losing Weight (48% of Americans)
- Saving More Money (44% of Americans)
- Improving Diet (39% of Americans)
- Pursuing Career Goals (21% of Americans)
These top 5 resolutions set in 2021 are likely to remain in the top 5 in 2022. Some other popular New Year’s Resolutions were spending more time with family, spending less time on social media, and giving up smoking.
How To Set New Year Resolutions
When creating a new year’s resolution, it’s important to reflect on the why behind your resolution. Harvard states, “until you grasp why you’re sticking like a burr to old habits and routines, it may be hard to muster enough energy and will to make a hard left towards change." Moreover, Harvard points out that reflecting and evaluating the pros and cons of a change in contrast to staying stagnant will increase the attractiveness of sticking to your new goal.
So, rather than deciding on a whim you’re going to use less social media (or any other goal), ask yourself why you want to make that change. Is it because you’re spending too much time on it, is it affecting your mental health, or would you like to divert more energy to other hobbies? Questions like these help you get to the root of your desires.
How To Stay On Top of Your New Year Resolutions
- Designate An Accountability Buddy
Striving towards a new goal is difficult alone - we are not meant to walk through challenges in solitude. Which is why you should designate an accountability buddy. An accountability buddy motivates you through tumultuous times and cheers for you during success.
Studies have proven the positive effects of social support in reaching personal goals. A recent 2020 New Year’s Resolution study found that participants with social support reported more success in achieving their goals than those without.
- Break Things Into Bite Size Steps
As humans, we can become easily overwhelmed with audacious goals in front of us. Luckily, breaking big goals into bite size steps makes it a bit easier. Starting with smaller, simpler tasks builds confidence and increases your ability to succeed at the larger, more difficult tasks.
- Create Clear, Quantifiable Goals
Let’s be honest, we’ve all created a “goal” with no real direction or quantifiable measure of success. Sure, we want to workout more. But what does that really mean? Does it mean we want to increase the amount of time we workout by 1 hour or do we want to workout 5 days a week?
Without direction or a quantifiable measure of success, there is no way to keep oneself accountable. Nor is there a real goal to reach. So, it is much easier to stay on top of a goal when you know what you are shooting for, whether that is a number or date.
Resources for Habit Formation
There are many resources to help you understand the psychology behind habit formation and help you pursue your New Year’s Resolutions. Here are a few.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear - Link Here
- How to Break Habits by Charles Duhigg
- Ted Talks’ “A Simple Guide to Forming Healthy Habits”
See, tackling a New Year’s Resolution is not as scary as it seems. 2022 is a fresh start and you’re capable of anything. Just remember the “why” behind your goal, grab a buddy, take it one step at a time, set clear goals and everything else should follow. If you need some help, here are 7 realistic New Year’s Resolutions you could tackle this year. Oh, and if you’re not setting a New Year Resolution this year, that is totally okay too. ;’)
Written by Lauren Conklin