5 tips to making and keeping a Whole Year’s Resolution

Notebook on wooden desk

Making a New Year’s resolution is easy. Making a Whole Year’s resolution, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. You see, a New Year’s resolution is typically made in haste a few minutes before midnight and abandoned around Jan. 2. A Whole Year’s resolution, on the other hand, requires careful thought and the motivation to keep chugging along for the next 12 months.

  1. K.I.S.S. This has nothing to do with who you smooch at midnight; it’s just a reminder to Keep It Simple, Stupid. Devise a single resolution that you can realistically keep, not a broad, complicated goal that’s hard to wrap your mind around. If you try to commit to making a vegan recipe a few times a week or trying a new fitness class every Saturday morning, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the task when things get crazy at work. Pick something simple and small to start, then work toward bigger goals if you surpass your original resolution.
  2. Talk specifics. On a similar note, you should choose a specific For instance, saying that you’ll “be healthier” this year won’t get you very far. Try something like, “I’ll skip meat every Monday,” or, “I’ll go to the gym at least two times per week.” Creating a specific, easy-to-achieve goal is the best way to ensure you’ll actually follow through, even if it means setting a smaller goal than you’d really like.
  3. Write it down. This may seem a little silly, but writing down your resolution and posting it somewhere you (and others) can see could actually improve your chances of keeping it. Stick a note card on your bathroom mirror, put a virtual post-it on your laptop’s home screen, or create a regular reminder on your Google calendar. Keep the sentence short so that you can read it over at a glance, even when you’re rushing out the door in the morning.
  4. Build a support team. The best way to reach any goal is to make sure you’re held accountable not just by yourself, but also by others. Posting your resolution on Facebook or asking a friend or two to be your workout buddy could help motivate you to keep it. After all, it’s one thing to let yourself down, but another entirely to disappoint a group of 500 Facebook friends. If you and your friends have similar resolutions, you’ll be doing them a favor, too.
  5. Exercise your willpower. According to study cited by WebMD, willpower isn’t an intangible personality trait that you either have or you don’t. It works like a muscle; exercising it often actually strengthens it. So when you resolve to do early-morning workouts three times a week, start by building a strong foundation for your willpower. Commit to doing it without skipping for at least two or three weeks, no excuses allowed. You’ll probably find that the more you strengthen your willpower and get into a routine, the easier it gets not to snooze your alarm when it goes off at 6 a.m.