Yes, it’s a new year again and it’s time to make those new year resolutions again. Here’s how to make new year resolutions and stick to them!

Woman Holding a New Year Calendar
Who cares if she’s holding a 2017 calendar – © Brooke Lark

Define your resolutions clearly

Resolutions that are vague and do not state specific outcomes will often fail. Some examples of vague resolutions are, “I want to lose weight” or “I want be rich.” Good resolutions should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. If you want to lose weight, you can make your resolution more specific and measurable (e.g. I want to lose 10kg). Next, think about how can you make your resolution achievable (e.g. To lose 10kg, I will go running at least 3 times a week). Finally, set a deadline for your resolution and your resolution should look something like this, “To lose 10kg in 6 months, I will go running at least 3 times a week.”

Be mentally prepared to make changes

Sticking resolutions are very difficult when you are not mentally prepared to make changes to your life. Depending on what your goals are, some changes can be drastic and can really test your determination and focus.

For example, say, you wanted to quit smoking but you rely on smoking as a form of stress relief. You return to work and find yourself overwhelmed by work by the second week of January and you find yourself reaching for a cigarette to cope. You tell yourself, just this once because I’m REALLY stressed. You resolve to quit next week but you end up have a huge fight with your wife because and you light up to vent your frustrations.

To avoid caving in, know what are your triggers and temptations and plan alternative and solutions to replace and cope with situations. More importantly, accept that it WILL be difficult so stay determined and focused on your goal. 

Up your time management skills

Whether you want to hit the gym more often or learn how to play the ukulele, you will need solid time management skills or you might see your resolutions fall wayside.  Let’s say your resolution is to work at the gym 3 times a week to lose weight but this week you had work late 4 nights so you couldn’t make it to the gym. Come Friday, you planned to go to gym but your co-workers invite your for after-work drinks and you love beer! What should you do?  The key to better time management skills is not about trying to do more with less time. Rather, it’s about prioritizing your resolutions and focusing on the right things first.  

Don’t take on too much

Lastly, taking on too much is a recipe for failure because it will deplete your motivation and tire yourself out way before the year is through. Setting too many lofty goals like “I will make myself go to the gym everyday”, “I  must lose 20kg in 30 days” and “I will learn how to play the guitar in 30 days” can really drain you as each of these goals are deeply challenging and will take significant time and commitment to achieve. Instead, setting out to achieve all your resolutions at one go, try working on one resolution a time and moving onto the next only after you’ve completed or gotten the hang it. 

Now you know how to make new year resolutions and actually stick to them, so now go start making your lists and be successful!