Let’s be real: We all have lofty goals of meeting our New Year’s resolutions. But often, life gets in the way, and suddenly it’s December and you can’t even remember what you set out to accomplish.
This year, I’m determined to stick to my resolutions: to work out 2-3 times per week, to start eating healthier and cut back on dessert a little (emphasis on a little, though), and to spend more of my free time writing and less time watching Netflix.
There are many ways to help keep yourself on track to meeting your personal goals. These ideas are simple things I find that work for me:
1. Take Baby Steps
A few weeks ago I ate two dozen cookies in two days. Clearly, I’m not interested in cutting out dessert food overnight. However, I am willing to start slowly replacing the plethora of dessert food I eat with healthier options.
If healthier eating is part of your New Year’s resolution, consider replacing one less healthy item per day with something better for you. If you’re cutting back on sweets, try grabbing a Greek yogurt in a flavor you love or a piece of fruit instead when a sugar craving hits.
2. Give Yourself An Incentive
I am not the type of person that loves to exercise. I don’t mind it once I get started, but finding the motivation to get to the gym remains a challenge that seems almost impossible.
In order to get myself off the couch and across the street to my workout facility, I plan to give myself an incentive. Every day that I work out, I’m going to set aside one dollar for my travel fund. If you have a significant other, you could put money into a date night jar. Or, you can set aside money to donate to a charity you love. If you’re strapped for cash, even a quarter will add up quickly, or you can use a non-monetary incentive instead—like an extra half hour of guilt-free TV watching, or whatever works best for you.
3. Write It Down
The best way to stay motivated towards meeting your resolution is to write it down, and display it somewhere you’ll see it often. Print it out in cute colors on a fun background and hang it above your desk. Write it on a sticky note and tape it to your bathroom mirror with words of encouragement. The more you think about the goals you’ve set, the more likely you are to work towards them.
4. Share It With A Friend
One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable is to share your goal with a friend, especially if you have a friend that’s working towards a similar goal. You can set up a weekly time to check in with one another on the progress you’ve made or share tips and tricks. Nobody knows you like your best friend does, and it’s helpful to have someone that can yell at you when you’re slacking off or send nice words of encouragement when you need them the most.
5. Celebrate The Small Stuff Along The Way
Last year, I started a New Year’s tradition: a yearly memory jar. Each year, I buy a mason jar and decorate it with cute paper or stickers. As good things happen throughout the year, I write them down on a piece of paper, fold them up, and put them in the jar. It can be big accomplishments, like getting straight A’s for a semester or landing a dream internship, or smaller things like “had a great night with my best friends.” I also put concert tickets or other mementos from the year.
Then, on New Year’s Eve, I take all the slips of paper out and read them to remind myself of all the little things I’ve accomplished that year. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the best days of the year—no matter how big or small—and remind yourself of all the good moments that otherwise might be easy to forget. It’s also a good way to put things in perspective. Even if you don’t meet the bigger resolution you had, you still accomplished a lot, most likely, and you should celebrate those little things too!
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