Start the New Year right: 5 tips to keep your New Year's resolution in 2014
The beginning of a new year is always so full of promise, and has a special way of bringing out the best in us. New Year's resolutions reflect that hopefulness, but more often than not don't manage to withstand the onslaught of daily life. Too often the habits and routines we’ve already developed are easier to fall back on, and making a lasting change can feel overwhelming.
This year can be different! Okay, maybe you think that every year, but this year we're going to help you make it happen. We've got five helpful suggestions for making sure those resolutions last beyond January.
1) Keep it specific.
It might seem easier to stick to general goals such as "lose weight" or "save more money," but keeping it general makes it harder to make a plan you can put into practice. Deciding to work out three days a week or create a household budget are tangible, specific plans you can more easily commit to sticking with.
2) Make sure you're in control.
If your New Year's resolution depends on anyone other than you for its success, you could be setting yourself up for failure despite your best efforts. "Get a raise" or "find a job" aren't resolutions you can personally keep, but "send out ten resumes a day until I find a job" is a goal you can control.
3) Put it in writing.
Savings guru Dave Ramsey recommends a simple, yet tried and true method to keeping your goals: write them down. Putting your goals down in writing gives you something to hold yourself accountable to. Luckily, this tactic has become that much more effective in recent years with technological tools designed to help people keep their goals.
Most of us have a system for reminders and alerts on our computers, phones, and other tech devices. Make use of those sticky notes, accountability apps, and online calendars to put extra pressure on yourself to regularly think about and act on your New Year's goals.
4) Start small.
One of the reasons that New Year's resolutions have a reputation for failure is that a year is a long time. Whatever your goal for the year, divide it into monthly segments. Start by committing to month one, and then extend your goal into months two and three. Goals and routines rarely seem so daunting when approached one step at a time.
5) Picture the carrot.
Denying yourself something to stay on budget or making yourself get up an extra hour early to go to the gym – these day-to-day decisions don't feel good in the moment. When you're focusing on the hard part, keeping up your resolve can be a challenge.
Make an effort to keep the end reward in mind. Don't think about that new pair of shoes you're giving up; think about that trip to Hawaii you're saving up for. Keep reminders of your goal nearby (see tip #3). Why not make your desktop background an image of a Hawaiian beach, or place a sticky note on your mirror with a reminder that you'll be debt free by 2015?
Ultimately, keeping your New Year's resolution will still be up to you. No tip or trick we offer will do the work for you. If you're committed to keeping that household budget, maintaining that workout routine, or finally quitting that bad habit, these ideas will make it easier for you to keep those promises to your self.
So, what's your New Year's resolution?
Good luck, and happy New Year!