10 Ways to Make Your Resolutions Stick

The New Year has such an energy of renewal around it. Unlike any other moment in the year, the moment the clock hits 12:00, so many people feel such a motivation to change their life for the better. Whether your goal is to go to the gym more, study harder, to be more assertive in your job or to even shoot your shot with that cute honey in class, the New Year can inspire us to get up and moving for ourselves.

And yet, despite this energy and determination, many people can’t seem to keep that momentum going for very long. U.S News found that up to 80% of New Year’s resolutions already fail by February! This article goes on to suggest that it is a matter of mind over matter— that it is up to us to keep going on even when it gets hard. That being said, life changes are hard! When you’re used to your everyday grind and your responsibilities pile up it can be hard to keep promises to yourself, especially when it means taking time from doing things for your loved ones to go and take care of yourself. It takes a little bit of help and some smart planning.

Here at Her Campus Pitt, we compiled a list of 10 different strategies that can help you keep your promises to yourself and make sure that you are able to build the life you want.

1. Make a Vision Board

Vision boards recently came on my radar as I was doing research on how to self-motivate this year. While this may seem like a bit of an extra step, it works well when trying to visualize your goals for the year. Though you can put it anywhere and make it out of anything, a vision board primarily has pictures of what you want your life to look like, along with motivational quotes. Make it colorful and put it in a very visible place where you are going to see it all the time. By seeing it frequently, you’ll be constantly reminding yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you’ll be able to stay motivated to keep your goals!

2. Make Incremental Goals to Get to Your Main Goal

I think a lot of times we give up on our aspirations because we don’t see the immediate benefits to our work or we aren’t making as much progress as we’d like to. I often get frustrated that I’m not losing as much weight as I want in a short span, or that I’m not ready to write two pages a night immediately into the New Year. What I think really helps is making small goals, reaching them, and promising to repeat. For example, I’m hoping to lose 25 pounds this year but I’d break this up into smaller sub-goals of five pounds each. This makes the challenge easier to tackle, and I won’t get frustrated as easily.  

3. Get an Accountabili-buddy

We have a program in Residence Life where we are given partners in the beginning of the year and we promise each other that we will keep the other accountable for their actions. We promise to call the other out if we aren’t doing the right thing and to cheer each other on in our success. This has helped me become more cognizant of my actions and helps me keep my promises. By having someone that is going through the same trials as you and actively working toward similar goals, you won’t feel like you’re doing it alone.

4. Give Yourself Rewards

You are doing a lot! If you are staying on track and doing what you need to do, you deserve some sort of reward, right? Give yourself a night in. Buy a new shirt. Treat yourself to a facial. Whatever it is that you indulge in, give yourself a break, without breaking your promise to yourself. Not only does it reward you, it’ll motivate you to keep going!

5. Have a Visual to Track Your Progress

You can become discouraged if you aren’t making the progress you want. What can help is to have a physical representation of your progress to remind you how far you’ve come and how close you are to your goals! I’ve seen color-in thermometers, jars of pebbles, jars of money, etc. If it works for you and will keep you going, do it!

6. Think of it as a Lifestyle Change

I have had friends who thought resolutions were stupid, quick-fix schemes that don’t work. However, I don’t think it has to be like that. If you think of it as a change of lifestyle, you’ll be more apt to make it a part of your life and less likely to quit. Resolutions are meant to make your life better and that can’t happen with quick fixes. Whether it’s more meditation practice, a more active lifestyle or asserting your needs, this is your life and you can do anything you want with it!

7. Be Kind to Yourself

I am a culprit of not being kind to myself. I often beat myself up for not succeeding the way that I would like to. Obviously, degrading yourself and saying you can’t reach your goals doesn’t help anyone. We need to remind ourselves that we all make mistakes and stumble. Forgive yourself, pick yourself up and keep going. We are only human and will constantly make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep going.

8. Surround Yourself with Those Who Lift You Up

The worst thing that you can do to yourself is surround yourself with people who will deplete your energy. If you are promising yourself that you’re going to study better this year and you surround yourself with people who push you to go out all the time, you’ll lose your drive to keep going. You’re trying to make your life better and you deserve people who are going to lift you up and cheer you on! We are cutting toxic people out of our lives this year!

9. Make Clear, Attainable Goals

You can’t just say, “This year I’m going to do better at work.” What does that mean? That is just an empty promise that can mean literally anything you want it to. If you don’t have a clear explanation of what you want to do, you’ll probably just jump off the wagon of self-improvement. Ask yourself how you’re going to be a better professional. Are you going to be more organized at work? Are you going to start keeping a bullet journal? Maybe you’ll make yourself more available to coworkers. Whatever the area you want to improve, think of behaviors that you can adopt to make your life better.

10. Make a List of All the Reason You Made this Promise

Ask yourself why you decided to make this resolution. Do you want to be kinder? Do you want to be healthier? Maybe you want to buy your parents a house in the future and you need a good job to get there? Write down any reason you can think of. Remember this list. Anytime you may think that all of this work is pointless, pull out your list. Your dreams are worth the work,and you CAN make it towards those dreams.

Making a change can be a difficult thing to deal with, especially if it takes a lot of work for a long stretch of time. But I want to tell you right now that you are going to succeed at whatever you do. You can make your life look like whatever you want it to. No matter what anyone says, this is your year. This is your year to turn it all around and attain the things you want. We all believe in you. Go get it!

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