How to stick to your New Year’s resolutions

It’s January 2018, which means that it’s time to start creating new year’s resolutions. If you’re trying to improve the quality of your life and/or become a better person, check out this list of tips for getting started:

Creating resolutions

First, sit down and jot down a list of changes that you’d like to make to your life. Afterwards, look back at what you’ve written and revise the list so that your goals are specific, measurable and achievable:

  1. Specific: Make sure that your goal is clearly defined and not vague. For example, instead of saying that you want to become a better person, say that you will carry out at least one act of kindness for your friends and family every day.
  2. Measurable: If your goal is something related to fitness or weight loss, track your progress in a journal or an app (such as MyFitnessPal). Recording your progress will keep you motivated, and according to The Guardian, people who monitor their behaviors tend to do a better job of accomplishing their goals.
  3. Achievable: Try to choose a goal that you can realistically accomplished within a certain time frame. Reading ten books in two months is more realistic than reading fifty books in two months.

Keeping resolutions

Sticking to your resolutions is much easier said than done—as the year progresses, it becomes more tempting to give up on the goals you established in January. Carefully follow this list of tips, and in twelve months, your resolutions will become reality.

  1. Start off strong. You are more likely to change your long-term behavior if you try something new intensively for around a month. In an experiment conducted by the University of Chicago, students who finished a month of unusually high exercise continued to go to the gym for the following seven weeks, twice as much as any other student.
  2. Work towards your goals in the mornings. According to The Guardian, levels of the stress hormone cortisol are higher after waking up, so habits form quicker in the morning than any other time of day.
  3. Seek support. Reaching out to family and friends and talking about your resolutions will provide you with the support you need to stick to your resolution when you feel like giving up. Support groups, whether in person or online, who are reaching for the same goals as you can help motivate you. Share your experience and meet people who have reached similar goals to your own.
  4. Keep a regular schedule. Setting aside a certain period of time each day (such as one hour in the evening) will hold you more accountable and help you make progress toward your goal on a daily basis.
  5. Accept that you are not going to be perfect. The journey toward attaining your resolution is not always going to be smooth. On occasion, you might make minor mistakes from time to time, such as eating a piece of cake or skipping the gym while you are trying to lose weight. Whenever this happens, be sure to pick yourself up and get back on track.
  6. Avoid excuses. Resist the temptation to make excuses for progressing towards your goals (such as “I can’t go on a run tomorrow because I have to do homework”). The more excuses you make, the easier it will be for you to fall in the habit of slipping up, and you may never end up fulfilling your resolution at the end.
  7. Make it fun. If you can’t stand exercise, for example, try to find something that will make it more interesting. For instance, you can run along to your favorite music or work out with your friends. If you’re somewhat enjoying the activity that you’re doing, it will encourage you to keep motivated and stick to a regular schedule.

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Annie Zhang is a staffer on RedEye this year. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, long road trips, reading, spending time with her family, and trying out new restaurants around Louisville. She is also passionate about social advocacy. You can contact her at [email protected]

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