We have all made New Years resolutions that we failed to keep. Whether we followed through for one day or one month, we have all felt that pang of regret that we didn’t continue to do what we had committed to. Often, we decide to eat healthier, work out, be better with our money, or get better grades. Perhaps you want a promotion at your job, or to give back to your community in some way. But we have all realized life can crowd in quickly, and derail even the best laid plans. Here are our tips for making and keeping your resolutions for the brand new year:
-Be specific: Saying “I will eat healthier" is a really broad resolution. Instead, think of ways you can be more specific, such as “I will stop eating fast food after school”. You could also swap in healthier options like walking instead of taking the elevator, or walking twice a week. Being specific helps your brain recognize what task needs to be done. Other specific things are: I will purge my closet, I will recycle my cans, I will use a planner to stay organized. These are easy ways to begin implementing healthy changes in your life, without making broad, unrealistic statements that are too vague.
-Be realistic: If you know you cannot commit to working out one hour a day, or volunteering 20 hours a week, it is not realistic to say that’s what you will do. You will just set yourself up for failure, before you’ve even started. Instead set a lower, more realistic goal, such as “I will work out 3 days a week” and then make a chart to show your progress. A visual aid helps keep you on track, and makes it easier to see how much you’ve really done.
-Be accountable: A friend who has a similar goal can help keep you on track to meet your goal. Ask a friend to walk twice a week with you, or download a fitness app that you can both use to view progress. If your goal is to save money or get better grades, make an agreement with your friend to help you stay the course. For example, if drive-through coffee or eating out is draining your savings, ask your friend to help by planning to pack a lunch with you a few days a week, or learning to make your own espresso or tea that you can put into travel mugs. A buddy makes it easier to stick to a plan.
-Make fewer goals: If you make too many goals, you will burn yourself out too quickly. Consider making 2-3 realistic goals that you feel confident that you can reach. Of course, they shoudln’t be too easy, and should be somewhat challenging, but shouldn’t be impossible. If you’ve never run in your life, three marathons might be absolutely impossible for your body to achieve, but a 5k is going to be challenging yet achievable. If you don’t know what an achievable goal would look like, ask an adult or a parent to help you brainstorm. '
By setting and keeping your goals, you will feel accomplished and will be on your way to a more disciplined and fulfilling life! Happy New Year!