How To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick!

Not everyone makes New Year’s Resolutions… there are some people who don’t see the new year as a time for reinvention, recharging, reconditioning, reenergizing, reinvigorating, and reorganizing.

It’s just January. But if you’re one of those people who have made a resolution to change something in 2024… and, by the way, if you are one of those people… you are TEN TIMES MORE LIKELY to make a significant improvement in your life this year… then this post may help you to do that.

FROM GOOD INTENTIONS TO REALITY

We all have good intentions to change, and we can easily set goals. As with almost everything in life, it’s the follow-through that is hard. If you want to improve your chances of seeing your good intentions actually bear fruit in the coming year, then here are 3 things you should seriously consider doing.

 A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.  ~Author Unknown

#1:  GET REAL

You heard me. If your New Year’s Resolutions include losing 100 pounds, relocating to Seattle, finding a new career, and getting married then you are on a path to failure, burnout, insanity, or worse. (Is there worse?)

If you want to be really successful with something, pick the most important thing on your list you want to do and focus on that… and only on that… until you’ve done it.

Then if it’s April and you’ve already relocated to Seattle happily, then you can get to work on that healthy lifestyle change. Wouldn’t you rather have one awesome goal achieved by 2024 than 5 or 6 failed intentions?

#2:  CARROTS AND STICKS

You need to use carrots (not real ones) to accomplish your goals: Your goal is to walk for 20 minutes every day, and you put a big 🙂 on your calendar on the days you actually do it. If you have 5 out of 7 days on your calendar that week with 🙂  on it, then you get to (fill in the blank).  Nice carrot!

You reward yourself until the health and physical benefits of walking 20 minutes every day kick in and become their own reward and motivation for you to continue. Want to make this even more effective?  Add a stick.

A stick is a consequence you will enforce with yourself if you don’t get those 5  🙂  on your calendar…make it something you dread even more than getting out there walking… like having to go through all your files for tax season.  Ugh.

#3:  QUARTERLY “MEETING OF THE BOARD”

Everyone I know who goes to a gym regularly dreads January and can’t wait until the end of March…know why?

Because everyone with all the good intentions to hit the gym every week start in January and fizzle out by the end of March. If you don’t want to “fizzle out”, then you’re going to have to have your eye on the ball come April 1. Decide now…write it on your calendar… to have quarterly “board meetings” with yourself to evaluate how well you are doing with your good intentions and your goals.

April 1st, July 1st, October 1st, and December 31st are good days to sit down and keep yourself honest. Are you doing what you said you were going to do? If not, why not?  What do you need to fix, change, ditch, do instead?  Making quarterly adjustments works better than fizzling out in March and feeling like “there just went another year of New Year’s Resolutions down the drain.”

“CHEERS TO A NEW YEAR AND ANOTHER CHANCE FOR US TO GET IT RIGHT.”

I leave you with this quote by Oprah Winfrey, because I too believe that with every new day, we have another chance to learn more, do better, and “get it right”…

Whatever that may mean for you in this New Year!

DrAnita Sanz, PhD, Psychologist

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