The new year is fast approaching!
Something that many people do when New Year’s Day comes around is to create their New Year’s resolutions. But what does it mean to write a New Year’s resolution, and how can you stick to them?
What are New Year’s resolutions?
New Year’s resolutions are a chance to reflect on what you’ve accomplished during the past year and plan out what you want to do in the following year. Although not compulsory, New Year’s resolutions can be a handy way of trying new things or improving your daily habits.
How do you create effective resolutions?
It can be challenging to motivate yourself all year long, and many people are tempted to give up altogether. But if done well, New Year’s resolutions can still be helpful. With that in mind, here are five tips for creating effective New Year’s resolutions.
1. Make them relevant to you
Start by considering what you want to do in the new year. Don’t think about what other people might want or what you think you should do. Instead, personalise your resolutions so they’re linked to your individual priorities.
If you want 2022 to be the year you meet new people, make that one of your resolutions. If you’ve always dreamed of writing a book or a song, then go for it. Don’t look back! Start planning out what you need to do to achieve your goals, and don’t feel obligated to share them with others if you don’t want to.
2. Be ambitious, but also realistic
One of the most common pieces of advice when writing your resolutions is to be ambitious and ‘aim for the sky’. But it’s also not a great feeling to set an ambitious goal and then fall short. You can avoid experiencing disappointment by keeping your resolutions realistic.
For example, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to learn a new language every week (unless you’re superhuman!). Your schedule might not allow you to go to the gym every single day. Try setting a more realistic timeframe or expectation that suits your abilities. At the end of the day, it’s the effort that counts.
3. Set open goals
Sometimes, setting a very specific goal – such as learning 10 new English words every day – can put you off. If you only learn three new words in a day, you might feel like you’ve failed to achieve your goal. In reality, you’ve actually made a big achievement. That’s why some people suggest setting open goals.
Instead of setting a specific target, an open goal lets you see how many words you can learn in a certain day. This releases you from feeling anxious about meeting that target, and it can be a big boost to your confidence. You might surprise yourself with just how successful you become.
4. Establish new habits to replace old ones
New Year’s resolutions often involve wanting to change an existing habit – eating less chocolate or becoming more organised, for example. In order to create change, we need to create a new habit to replace the old one.
Creating a new habit starts with doing something regularly. Let’s say you want to exercise more, but are uninspired by going to the gym. Instead, choose a new activity, such as running outdoors or swimming. Pick a time of the day that suits your schedule, and go out for a light jog or swim a few laps. Then, go out at the same time the following day, and run or swim a little bit further. After a while, you’ll be able to push yourself harder. These activities will become an unconscious habit – and before you know it, you’ve met one of your resolutions!
If you need an extra push, you can try starting these new habits with a friend – that way, you can keep each other accountable and make sure you stick to your resolutions.
5. Reward yourself
Setting New Year’s resolutions is a lot of fun, but fulfilling them can be more challenging. The good news is you get to reward yourself afterwards. A reward is also important when staying motivated and maintaining your new habits.
Ultimately, by creating resolutions you’re achieving more than if you hadn’t set those goals in the first place. This is definitely something to be proud of!