As the sparkles and sequins of New Year’s Eve fade away, the reality of a new year, new beginnings, and new gym memberships loom above us. Every year, we make new resolutions; and every year, they get lost somewhere between the MLK Jr. long weekend and the reds and pinks of Valentine’s Day. Here are a few tips to keep you on track this year and at least last until Memorial Day!
- Write things down
I love making to-do lists—not because I like to see the impossible amount of tasks I have to complete, but because of the unparalleled satisfaction I get from crossing something off when it’s done. Keep up with your resolutions this year by writing them down. Seeing them on paper will not only provide you with a visual reminder, but will take them from being simple ideas into tangible goals, and therefore more likely to be accomplished.
Writing down your resolutions will also help you plan ahead so you can achieve more of your goals more effectively. For some of us, a sticky note on our desk might be the perfect reminder everyday to keep up with our resolutions. For others, it might be time to invest in a planner to keep you more organized. Choose whatever methods you prefer, but plan ahead and write things down and you can make anything happen!
- Set realistic and specific goals
Last time I checked, no one ever starts a quarter off thinking, “I hope to get average grades and a 2.50 GPA this quarter!” We all plan to get straight A’s; but as midterms and term paper deadlines get closer, much more important things tend to take priority like playing Words with Friends, baking a 3-layer cake for no reason, and watching seasons one through four of Gossip Girl on Netflix—all in the same week.
If you want to get better grades, you have to actually work for it. I know, what a concept. So when you’re planning your resolutions, don’t just write down “get straight A’s.” Think about definite ways you can work toward that goal like actually going to class, shutting off your iPhone while you’re listening to lecture, and going to the library to study (not watch YouTube videos of cats). If you set attainable and specific goals, you will have something more concrete to work toward!
Furthermore, create goals that you can gauge your progress on as you get closer to achieving them. For example, if you plan to eat healthier, start a log to keep track of what you eat everyday so that you can visually see if you’re making progress. If you want to be more active, set aside thirty minutes to an hour each day for the gym and keep track of when and how long you go. If you can measure and see your progress, you’re much more likely to stick with it!
- Tell people
We are all guilty of keeping our resolutions to ourselves just in case of that slight chance that we fail to keep up with it half way through January. Don’t make this mistake! Be proud of your choice of goals and share them with everyone you know. The more people you tell, the more people you’ll have to motivate you and push you along if you start to fall behind. You’ll also have more people to make fun of you if you do fail (just kidding!). So whether you make it your Facebook status, your next tweet, or your conversation over coffee tomorrow morning, keep sharing it until you have your very own cheer squad to encourage you throughout the whole year!
- Reward yourself
Now that you’re well on your way to making 2013 your best year yet, don’t forget to treat yourself as you make progress! As mentioned earlier, set goals that you can measure; this way, you can also reward yourself as you achieve each step. If your goal is to save money and you make it through the week without eating fast food, treat yourself to a milkshake and fries or a Sprinkles cupcake. Of course, don’t undermine all your hard work by splurging at a five-star restaurant, but treat yourself as a reminder that you can do what you set your mind to. Rewarding yourself will keep you motivated to make it to the next step in your goal and successfully achieve it.