On January 1st, we all feel a surge of positivity. This year is the year! We will save money. We will lose weight. We will get that promotion. This is the year for success on all fronts! However, come February… the positivity fades and discouragement sets in. Sticking to your resolution and your plan can be the most difficult part of any goal. Here are some great science-backed tips for making that New Year’s Resolution stick.
Lay The Groundwork
You’ve identified what you want to change in your life and what you have to do to accomplish it, but there’s even more you can do to pave the way to success: You must change your environment to work for you and not against you. If you want to save money, don’t hang out at the mall anymore. If you want to lose weight, throw out the junk food in the house. The easier you can make this for yourself the more likely you will succeed.
Break Your Goal Into Small Milestones
It’s tempting to declare you’re going to lose 30 pounds or to set a vague goal of simply ‘saving money’. Getting more specific in your goal setting is key. With large long-term goals, we can get overwhelmed and easily discouraged. They need to be attainable enough so you know can achieve it if you put in the effort. Going further, breaking your BIG goals into smaller, more easily achievable milestones can give you the satisfaction of making progress with each milestone you reach. This will boost your confidence, giving you the energy to eventually reach that big one!
Anticipate Rough Patches
Even if you hit the ground running on New Year’s Day, your quest will get noticeably harder by late January. It actually takes about 3 months to develop a new habit. If your new goal is to save money, and you are a careless spender (or perhaps even a little shopping-addicted) of course it’s going to take a while to break your bad habit. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you mess up, because the discouragement could throw you off track for good! Anticipate that it will be difficult, then the little screw-ups won’t completely shake you off course.