December 2012, you had it all figured out. You were going to run five miles every day, stop biting your nails, study an extra hour each night, turn down that second vodka tonic and become an overall better human being. Then January rolled around, and it got a lot more difficult to keep those resolutions you swore you would. I found myself in the same predicament, one January after another. After years of broken resolutions, I considered just throwing in the towel. Then I took a step back and thought about why I never was able to stop drinking, cursing, procrastinating, etc. What I found was pretty simple. After getting it wrong for so long, I realized not only what doesn’t work, but also, what does.
- Brag About It- The more people you tell, the more likely you’ll be to keep your resolution. It’s embarrassing to admit to yourself that you couldn’t do it, but admitting it to a bunch of other people? Much more painful.
- Be Realistic- While curing cancer and winning a Grammy are very admirable goals, come on. The more realistic a goal is, the more likely you are to achieve it. If you’re just starting to work out again, you’re not going to be running a half marathon every day before your classes. Start small; you can always build up from there.
- Don’t be discouraged by Setbacks- So you turned down that Sunday study group in favor of a daylong Revenge session on Netflix. It happens to the best of us. You messed up, big deal. Don’t let a mistake ruin your entire resolution. When that episode’s over, pick up that textbook and get cracking.
- Get A Buddy- If you have somebody trying to achieve the same goals you are, make a point to go about it together. You’ll end up encouraging one another, and positive support will make you want to keep going.
- Reward Yourself- Making changes to a routine, especially one you’ve known for a long time, isn’t always easy. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself! After forgoing a night out with friends to study for that business exam you aced, you’ve more than earned a relaxing night and glass of wine.