After the firework blasts have faded and our hangovers have been cured, we begin the annual period of self-reflection, attempts at reformation, and then eventual mourning when we hold ourselves to unattainably high standards. All around us is the hum of people vowing that they’ll drop four pants sizes in two months, while others may swear that they’ll finally learn Yiddish to impress their in-laws. Even if they may not always come to fruition, perhaps the most important part of our New Year’s resolutions is the desire to be better. If you want to keep your promise to yourself this year, follow these tips for keeping New Year’s resolutions.
The problem with wanting to drop four pants sizes in two months is that you simply can’t do it. There’s a difference between a healthy and unhealthy goal, and it’s important that you don’t let the rush of “new year new you” get to your head. If you want to undergo a real transformation that will stick, whether it’s mental or physical, you should consult a professional. And always start small; taking drastic measures to change your physical or mental health often leads to negative consequences. Additionally, addressing the smaller concerns in your life will make it much easier to go big later. If you’re forgetful, start making lists. If you’re messy, buy storage bins and label them, so you can keep things in order. Start today—but start small.
Make it a Habit
Research tells us it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. So, unfortunately, doing 10 sit-ups on January 2nd isn’t enough to carry your New Year’s resolutions through the entire year. Make a conscious effort to commit to your goal without punishing yourself for those days you may not have been perfect. The number one excuse people make when giving up on their resolutions is that they haven’t been consistent. That should never be the reason you give up—get back on that horse as many times as it takes to make your resolution a habit.
Have a Support Network
Make your goal public, so your friends and family can keep you honest and dedicated. Their help is instrumental to your success—don’t be afraid to keep them updated. It’s even better if you have a friend who’s on the same journey as you. You can motivate each other when times get tough.