New Year’s serves as an opportunity for many people to turn over a new leaf and motivate themselves for the year ahead. As the new decade begins, many students have reflected on their past progress and set goals to grow in the future. However, New Year’s resolutions are much easier made than they are kept. The majority of people will fall off track or forget their goals by summertime. If you’re determined to make 2020 your year and be one of the few people to actually keep your resolution, here are some tips to make the process as easy as possible.
Break it down into small and realistic steps
You made your resolutions, but what’s the next step? Make a game plan! Start by asking yourself some questions: What do you want to achieve? How would you go about achieving this? When do you want to achieve these goals by?
For example, say your goal is to “get healthy.” Try to divide this into multiple steps, whether that’s changing your diet, going to the gym or practicing yoga and meditation. How will you change your diet? Will you eat more vegetables or cut out sugar from your daily coffee? Once you start using tangible examples, your goal will seem less daunting and easier to reach.
Be specific about your goals
Similar to the first tip, use numbers, dates and other methods of measuring your goal in a tangible way to keep yourself accountable and track your progress. Instead of just telling yourself you will go to the gym more, think about how many times a week you’ll go to the gym or what time of day would fit best into your schedule. Alternatively, set yourself a date by which you will increase the number of times you exercise or start attending a yoga class.
Make your goal a habit
Whatever the goal, the more often you do it, the more natural it will become. You will be far more likely to keep working on your goal if you can find ways to build it into your daily life and practice it frequently. Try to start by practicing your goal at least a few times per week, enough to integrate it into your weekly routine. Make sure to be realistic about your level of commitment to your goal, and stick to those times without making excuses.
Have a friend to keep you accountable
If you and your friend are both determined to keep your resolutions, you can help keep each other on track. Share your specific goals with them and check in on one another every week or so to discuss any progress, frustrations or advice on how to improve. It will feel a lot less scary to know that someone else is in the same situation, and can serve as a good way to boost your motivation.
Try to create minimal resistance to accomplishing your task
You are much less likely to commit to your resolution if there are numerous obstacles along the way. Set aside some time beforehand to prepare for any potential problems and make working toward your goal as easy as possible. If you’re planning on going to the gym before work or class, leave out your workout clothes the night before so all you have to do is put them on first thing in the morning. If your goal is to get work done during the day, don’t go back to your room during the middle of the day. Stay on campus and utilize the blocks of free time you have, even if it’s just for an hour.
Reflect and revise
Once every few weeks, look back on the progress you have made so far on your goal. What has been working for you? What has not? Consider why certain methods or practices have not been working for you, and try to change your approach to achieving your goal accordingly.