New Year’s Resolution Strategies



Every year most of us decide we want to have “New Year’s Resolutions.”  In other words, we set goals for ourselves to keep up with in the new year.  However, how long do these resolutions usually last?  A month?  A day?  Maybe even a couple of hours?  It can be hard to actually keep up with resolutions, so here are some strategies to have a successful new year!


Most of us suffer the act of setting our expectations way too high.  I hate to break it to you, but it is unreasonable to lose 20 pounds in the first week of January!  If you are one of the millions of Americans who want to lose weight on the start of the new year, make a long term plan for yourself.  I don’t recommend going to the gym and running five miles for the first time ever.  Try a short walk and then build up your endurance overtime.  Same goes for developing better study habits.  Try different techniques such as making flash cards or taking notes.  Overtime, you will find study habits that improve your grade even if you do not see A+’s right away.  Beginning your resolution gradually will keep you from losing the will to keep up with it.  


Another common New Year’s resolution mistake is the belief that we must keep up with our goal without any cheating.  Because some of the goals we set are so high, we can become really disappointed when we fall short of them.  It’s important to give ourselves a mulligan or a cheat day.  It’s okay to eat that brownie!  Often times, as soon as we do something that does not agree with our resolution, we abandon the resolution altogether.  


The idea of “piggybacking” could make our resolutions last much longer as well.  Piggybacking is the idea of pairing a goal you would like to achieve with something you already do regularly.  For instance, say you would like to start taking vitamins.  To make this goal easily achievable, you could pair it with your daily morning coffee or water.  Overtime, taking vitamins will become a regular activity you do while drinking water.  In addition, flossing can become part of your everyday routine when paired with brushing your teeth.  Piggybacking is a great strategy to add goals to your everyday lifestyle.  


A New Year’s resolution is easy to keep up with when you start one with your friends!  Setting a group goal adds competition and pressure to stick to your goal.  Your group will keep you motivated and focused on your goals in a healthy way.  Individuals in study groups and gym classes hold each other accountable while also having fun.  


One of the most important New Year’s Resolution strategies is to set a specific goal for yourself.  Those who say “I want to eat healthier” or “I want to go to the gym more” or “I want to be a better student” tend to forget about their goals relatively quickly.  It’s essential to make a specific plan that starts off with low pressure.  For example, if you want to eat healthier, try switching your breakfast food to something nutritious like a fruit, rather than your cinnamon toast crunch.  Try this technique with other meals of the day, and maybe allow yourself a couple of days to eat the “junk” food as well.  Also if you are struggling in school, set up a schedule to make weekly visits with your teachers.  It’s okay to ask questions and reach out for help.  If you have a schedule that you follow to keep up with your goal, you will be holding yourself accountable.


Overall, the New Year can bring a lot of pressures on people to “recreate” themselves without allowing themselves to make a mistake.  If you are one of those who made a New Year’s Resolution and are having trouble keeping up with it, I hope these strategies will help you in having an optimistic year!