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How to Transform Your Resolutions Into Habits

For most people, the New Year means a fresh start—visualizing goals and forming new habits to enhance your life. However, as the second month of 2020 is coming to a close, over 80% of New Year’s resolutions have been pushed to the back burner. If your resolutions have fizzled out, no worries. They can be revitalized with some more careful intention setting, planning, and effort. Here are some ideas on how to resuscitate those discarded practices and finally revamp them into true habits.

Remember why you initially made your resolution.

Revisiting your intentions behind why you wanted to alter your lifestyle through envisioning a life where your habit is genuinely incorporated into your routine versus a version of your life without the habit can help inspire motivation.

Be patient, change takes time. 

It is important to be gentle to yourself if you slip up or feel like you are not progressing as quickly as expected. Often, people do not expect how time and energy-consuming life changes can be, but continue to persevere through these unavoidable frustrating instances. Ups and downs are bound to unfold.

Make a game plan. 

Many people do not achieve their goals because they are too broad in their intentions. Focusing on concrete actions rather than a general idea can help turn a change into your reality. This includes carving out time in your schedule to complete the practice and sticking to it. Initially, it is important that you perform a new task every day in order to make it a routine. After this more challenging step, you can experiment with how often you want to incorporate the habit into your life.

Don’t be shy about your goals.

Talking about your goals with others can help hold you accountable to sticking with them. Others may even want to join in on the lifestyle change with you, which can help to spark motivation. You may even want to ask for help from those who have achieved the same goal you are aiming for, perhaps they have some great advice on how you can do the same!

Track your progress, but don’t be obsessive. 

Whether your goal is to get stronger, have better grades, successfully manage your finances, or pick up a new hobby, it can be helpful to track or reflect on your progress. Tracking does not always have to be done through the more rigid method of measurements and spreadsheets, which can often lead you to feel hopeless or incite unhealthy obsession. Progress can also be measured through journaling or simply thinking about how you feel after completing a task. However, more traditional methods may be beneficial for some since visually examining your transformation allows you to understand where you may need improvement and can be motivational to look back on. 

Expect mistakes and move on. 

When forming new habits, a perfectionist mindset is bound to be unsuccessful once it collides with reality in the majority of situations. In the midst of trying a new routine, you may discover that a certain lifestyle is proving to be more of a nuisance than a positivity. In these cases, do not beat yourself up about discarding the resolution. Instead, reassess and find a new way to accomplish your overarching goal by reformulating a plan using different techniques. 

Our bodies and minds do not run on a 365-day cycle, so it is essential to remember you can aim for a new goal and start a new habit whenever, not just when the ball drops in January. With these new tips, resist the urge to fall back into negative habits and instead revive and transform a past resolution into a habit that will kickstart an improved version of yourself this decade!

Honor, Editor-in-Chief of UMass Amherst HC, is a senior honors student majoring in public health and psychology, with a minor in business. In her free time, she loves to explore the outdoors on walks with her dog, listen to music and podcasts, and experiment with new recipes.