10 Tips To Keep Your New Year’s Resolution On Track

It’s that time of year again, when the New Year’s Resolution monster rears his ugly head. He promises this will be the year that you stick to your promise to yourself. For some it’s going to the gym to get in shape, for others it’s kicking that nasty old habit. Whatever your new year’s resolution goals, you’re here for some assistance to make 2019 the year that you stick to your resolution.

I won’t lie to you, this is going to be hard, particularly at the beginning. However, with a little grit, some determination, and a lot of hard work, you can reach your goals. Use the tips below to help grind out the work until you reach your goal:

  1. Take The Before Shot
  2. Make A List Of Steps
  3. Start on New Year’s Day
  4. Change One Thing At A Time
  5. Grab A Friend
  6. Post Reminders
  7. Set Interim Goals
  8. Don’t Waste Your Progress
  9. Share Your Successes
  10. Reward Yourself

1. Take The Before Shot

Whether you do this on New Year’s Eve or January 1st isn’t important. What is important is setting a baseline. If your goal is to get back your college figure, take a picture of yourself before you begin your journey. Looking to drop some pounds, take a picture of the scale so you have a metric to measure against.

It doesn’t matter what the “before shot” is, as long as you associate it with your goals for the new year. Maybe you’re trying to cut back on your drinking. If so, maybe take a picture of your recycle bin full of empty beer cans and wine bottles. Don’t feel like you have to sum up things in one picture either. If it takes two, three, or even ten pictures to capture what’s going to motivate you through the year then do it.

Now plaster this on your mirror, or the inside of your jewelry cabinet. Make it something that you’ll see at the beginning of every day to remind you of your new year’s resolution.

2. Make A List of Steps

Great, now you’ve got the motivation piece out of the way. Now it’s time to get down to business and formulate a plan. Figure out what you need to do to reach your goal. If your goal is weight loss, then you know you need to change your diet. Hitting the gym or doing some type of physical activity is probably another good idea.

Outline anything and everything you think will help you to achieve your goal, no matter how big or small. In fact, having small steps in place is ideal since the first few weeks are going to be tough.

3. Start On New Year’s Day

Ok boys and girls, I’m gonna level with you. I hit the gym on a fairly regular basis, it’s something I enjoy, and I have my own goals I’m trying to reach. However, I know that between January 2 and March 1, it’s near impossible to find an open treadmill or elliptical. You’ll notice I said January 2.

Everyone who has good intentions, but poor dedication, will spend December 31 getting trashed with friends to ring in the new year. Because they’re out late, they end up hungover. They sleep away the first day of the year, and set themselves up for failure. Typically, they’ll make an excuse about starting on the 2nd of January instead.

Start the year off right, literally, by doing one action to push yourself toward your goal on New Year’s Day. By committing to your new year’s resolution on New Year’s Day, you’re already making progress over the multitude of people sleeping their resolution away.

My girlfriend’s brother is in the military and is much younger than me. Before he went in, I used to joke with him when he mentioned starting a workout routine. The conversation would go something like this:

Setting: Saturday Night

Him: “I’m going to start [insert fitness fad here] on Monday”
Me: “If you don’t have the commitment to start today, you won’t have it on Monday”
Him: “Yeah, that’s true I guess”

I stand by this philosophy, wholeheartedly. It’s far easier to say you’ll do something later, than it is to actually do something now. He’s now in much better shape than me, and at one point he even threw that same line back at me, but I digress.

4. Change One Thing At A Time

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” And this is true of anything worthwhile. Achieving your goals isn’t going to happen overnight. You’ll have to make tough decisions and really commit to your new year’s resolution to see the change you want. It’s the compounding interest that gets you results.

So, start off your transition to the better you slowly. There’s no need to rush, and the important thing is making a change you can stick with. Trying to drop pounds, consider cutting soda for water and unsweetened tea instead. If your new year’s goal is being more active, don’t start off with a 10 mile run, try a 1 mile hike. The idea is to get your body accustomed to the change without destroying your psyche.

5. Grab A Friend

This is a huge boost to sticking to your new year’s resolution. Having someone to share in the journey benefits you in two ways. First, you’ll have someone to share with during your trials and tribulations. Believe me, you’ll experience them along the way, guaranteed. Second, you’ll have someone to ensure you are sticking to your resolution. They’ll remind you that you missed your afternoon hike yesterday, so you can’t just go home and lay on the couch tonight.

Sharing your journey can also push you from a competitive level. If your goals are the same each of you will push each other. However, don’t lose heart if your friend makes progress faster than you. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint, you’ve got the whole year to meet or exceed your goals!

6. Post Reminders

To be clear, I’m not talking about your Facebook page. Go through your Google calendar and schedule out reminders. If your goal is to lose weight, and one of your steps is hitting the gym, add an alarm or reminder for every afternoon. If every afternoon is too ambitious, set it for whatever interval you deem appropriate. Just get them in there, so committed you can talk to unmotivated you. It’s like having a time-traveling trainer.

By the way, this is not a snooze-able option. Add a little motivational note to yourself to help you stay committed. Only you know what is going to work and keep you sticking to your new year’s resolution. I personally add messages that chastise me if I’m considering skipping. However, I’ve been doing this for some time, so I need a little tough love from myself on occasion.

7. Set Interim Goals

Whether it’s cutting out smoking or dropping 30 pounds, you’ll need to set interim goals to help motivate you. You can set as many of these goals as possible. The key to a successful interim goal is to make sure it’s measurable and that you set a timeline.

For instance if you smoke a pack a day and want to stop smoking completely by September, below is a sample of interim goals:

  1. By March 1st, I want to be down to one pack of cigarettes every 3 days.
  2. By May 1st, I want to be down to one pack of cigarettes a week
  3. By July 1st, I want to be down to 1 pack of cigarettes a month

The deadlines and amounts are arbitrary, and they can be set as close together, or as far apart as you can handle. However, make sure that the goals are achievable. If you fall short, don’t fret; re-assess your goal and set a new timeline. Furthermore, even if you fall short, chances are if you’re trying even a little bit, you’ll still be closer to your goal than when you first started.

8. Don’t Waste Your Progress

This tip is a huge motivator for me. I think of all the work I’ve done to get where I am at whenever I think about ditching the gym. Suddenly, avoiding that dessert I’m not even hungry enough to finish is much easier. Even if you fall short of a goal, this tip will help keep you from falling into despair and keep your new year’s goal on track.

This is why I advocate starting on New Years Day, instead of the day after. When January 2nd or 3rd hits, and you want to take the day off from your goal just think of it as sacrificing the hard work you already put in. You’ll instantly regret the thought of taking a day off.

9. Share Your Success (And Sometimes Failure)

I’ve heard it take, 3 days for you to notice change. It takes 3 weeks for those close to you to notice a change. And 3 months for the world to notice a change. After you’ve reached some of your interim goals, try posting to your network and advertising your success. Chances are, you’ll get a ton of positive feedback. Don’t worry if there are haters, they probably gave up on their new year’s resolution and are jealous!

Even if you’re struggling, use your social network for a boost of confidence. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly “you can do it” to keep you on track with your new year’s resolution. We’re all human, so it understandable that even the most dedicated need a little pick-me-up every once in a while.

10. Reward Yourself

Chances are, if you’ve read this far, you’re pumped for your new year resolution. Great, remember this article when times get tough. However, even if you don’t, take the time to congratulate yourself on victories. It’s easy for us to not see the forest from the trees. Didn’t lose 30 pounds and only lost 20, that’s awesome! Down to one bottle of wine a week, instead of a night — that’s a win in and of itself.

Final Thoughts

Remember folks, almost every endeavor in life is more about the journey than the destination. Even if you fall short of your goals, you’ve managed to accomplish something that few people actually do nowadays. You stuck with your new year’s resolution for a year. It will be a challenge, but I’m sure you’re up for it. Keep strong and check back on these tips as often as you need to, they’ll be here. If you have thoughts or recommendations on things that have helped you, leave a comment.

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