The first week of the New Year is officially behind us, and with it are many of our 2022 resolutions. Statistically speaking, the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions are left by the wayside after just one week. Following through on a big goal like losing weight, paying off debt, or getting organized can be tough, and despite even the best efforts, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and abandon your goals. If you’re looking for tips on how to stay on top of your New Year’s resolutions, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re going to cover why most people give up on their New Year’s resolutions, and what you can do to follow through on yours. The New Year is still off to a fresh start, and there’s plenty of time to refocus your attention on your 2022 goals.
Make Your Resolution a Specific, Measurable Goal
One of the best ways to stay on top of your New Year’s resolutions is to change them into a goal you can measure. Saving more money is a great resolution, but what does that actually mean? Put $50 away each month? $100, $200? By setting a vague, unmeasurable goal you make it easy to change what your idea of saving is, and in doing so make it easy to quit. Try setting goals like “save $1,200 this year by saving $100 a month.” This way, you can easily measure your progress each month, and meet your goal.
Another example of a goal that is too vague is one of the most popular, and most abandoned, New Year’s resolutions made each year: to get in shape. A big problem with this goal is that it’s simply not measurable. What does getting in shape mean to you? Losing weight? Working out? These types of goals, while great, can create instances where you become satisfied with different levels of success, which can lead to eventually giving up on your goals altogether.
A better goal to set would be something like “losing 10 pounds in 30 days.” This is a specific, measurable goal. Not only do you know what you want to accomplish, but you can create a process guaranteed to get you there. Set your workout schedule, lay out your diet plan, then just follow your plan.
The key to setting a New Year’s resolution that you can stay on top of is simple. Set a goal that is so specific that it’s easy to work backward to create a process you can use to achieve it.
Stay on Top of Your New Year’s Resolutions by Leaning on Existing Habits
Let’s say one of your New Year’s resolutions this year is to drink more water, and your goal is to drink two additional glasses of water each day. Since drinking water is already an existing habit for you, you don’t need to totally change or create a new habit. Instead, you simply have to modify an existing one. How does it work in practice? Simple: try keeping a glass of water on your bathroom sink, and after you brush your teeth (an already well-established habit) drink a glass of water. Do this when you wake up and before you go to bed, and there you go, two more glasses of water each day.
Want to get more organized at work? Utilize the time you’re already spending at work to help you get your house in order. Tack on an extra five minutes, three times a week to help organize your tasks. You don’t need to force yourself to go to work since you’ll already be there. All you need to do is piggyback on the existing habits and routines you already have.
Whenever possible, lean on your existing habits to help strengthen your New Year’s resolutions. It’s a heck of a lot easier than trying to adopt an entirely new habit and can help you stay on top of your goals.
Change Your Environment to Fit Your Goals
An easy way to ensure that you follow through on your New Year’s resolutions is to make changes to your environment. Introducing a little “choice architecture” into your life can make it easier to not only create new habits but also overcome your natural resistance to change. Choice architecture refers to the design of different ways in which choices can be presented to consumers and the impact of that presentation on consumer decision-making.
For example, say your New Year’s resolution is to start exercising first thing in the morning. A simple way to change your environment to nudge you in the right direction is to place your workout clothes by your bed. That way, when you wake up, you’ll have to actively choose to ignore putting on your workout clothes, rather than simply ignore getting them out of the drawer.
This same principle applies to virtually every resolution you can make. Want to eat more fruit? Try putting a bowl of fruit on your desk while you work. Now instead of going to the pantry for a snack, you’ll have to actively avoid that big bowl of granny smiths staring at you. Want to eat less junk food? Make sure foods that you’re trying to avoid never make it into the house.
Trying to get your days off to a more productive start? At the end of each workday, make a list of everything you need to do tomorrow, and lay out everything you’ll need. This way you won’t need the willpower to get started, and can simply sit down and go.
Choice architecture is a great way to avoid needing willpower and to do the things you really want to do.
Stay on Top of Your New Year’s Resolutions by Measuring Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress is a great way to build accountability and stay on top of your New Year’s resolutions. Oftentimes, our New Year’s resolutions fall short because we simply lose track of the steps we’ve made. Whether it’s saving money, getting organized, working out, or drinking more water, keeping track of your progress is a key part of following through on your goals.
A great way to do this is to make tracking your progress enjoyable. If your goal is to start exercising, getting a fitness tracker like an Apple Watch or a FitBit can help you monitor your progress and keep on top of your resolutions. For Apple users, closing rings can be a satisfying way to meet your goals, and the on-screen fitness tracker can serve as a motivational tool to get you out the door and to the gym.
Don’t Get Frustrated
Lastly, it’s important to remember that getting frustrated is a completely normal part of the process. Good habits are extremely hard to develop, and they’re incredibly easy to break.
Say you’re New Year’s resolution is to start exercising for an hour every day. You’ve been on track for a couple of weeks, and all of a sudden you think, “I’ve been doing pretty well, I could take a break.” The next day you wake up feeling defeated and guilty about blowing your New Year’s resolution, and then boom: no more exercising.
We all know that perfection isn’t possible. Sometimes you make mistakes and slip up. Sometimes you won’t follow through on plans you’ve made. These are all okay. The important thing is to get back on that new habit horse and keep at your goals. What matters is the long term. While you might occasionally fail, see a setback as just a setback and not a deal-breaker.
Stay on Top of Your New Year’s Resolutions by Joining the Pain Resource Community Today
Another great way you can stay on top of your New Year’s resolutions is to surround yourself with other people who share similar interests or goals. Sharing your resolutions with others is a great way to hold yourself accountable, while also building a support network. In fact, studies show that 41% of people actively tell others their plans to be more liable towards their goals, while a further 37% enlist a friend to complete their goals with them. Finding a place where you can share your goals with others can help you stay on top of your New Year’s resolutions, and help you find the resources necessary to create new habits.
The Pain Resource community is the fastest-growing chronic pain community on the internet. It combines all the things you know and love about social media, and combines them with a shared interest in chronic pain and chronic illness. Whether you’re trying to get more active, save more money, or make another change in your life, the Pain Resource community can be the support network you need to follow through on your goals.
The Pain Resource Community is free to join and is open to all members, even those without chronic pain. Our support group is dedicated to helping people live with chronic pain, as well as helping others understand more about invisible illnesses.
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