How to Create a New Year’s Resolution That You Can Stick to!
“New year, new me,” you say to yourself as the clock strikes midnight, the troubles from the past year disappearing and nothing but possibility looming on the horizon for the coming year. Waking up on January 1st, you start to make your new year’s resolutions. Maybe you want to train for a marathon, start a new job, travel to a new place, or even budget your money properly.
It's the beginning of a new year, and you’re excited for a ‘fresh start’ and ready to kick goals. But resolutions are typically forgotten once the hype dies down (usually after a few days). So, how do you make a resolution that you can stick to until December 31st?
Read on for our tips on creating a new year’s resolution that you can stick to!
Define your goal
This year, you might want to start a new hobby, save more money, and get a promotion at work – pretty standard, right? While these goals are common for resolutions, the problem with them is that they’re too vague. How much money do you want to save? What hobby do you want to start? Why do you want a promotion?
When it comes to choosing new year’s resolutions, it’s vital that you only choose one. If you select multiple, it makes it much harder to stick to and a lot easier to give up. When deciding which one to go with, look at it through the S.M.A.R.T. framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound).
S – Make your goal specific and try to include it in a statement. If your goal is to ‘save more money’, make it specific by rephrasing it to “I want to save $6,000 before December 31st to put towards a holiday.”
M – For it to work, your goal must be measurable. This means you need to put a quantifier on it to know if you’ve succeeded. Using the above statement as an example, find the best way you can measure it. This might be setting up smaller targets to ensure you’re on track, such as saving $500 a month, $250 a fortnight or $125 a week. Checking in on your progress is vital to success, as it helps to keep you motivated,
A - If your goal is ridiculously unachievable, it makes it more difficult to succeed – you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s also possible to feel overwhelmed by your end goal when looking at it as a whole. $6,000 is a lot to save if you look at it like that, but breaking it into monthly, fortnightly, and weekly targets can help make it feel more achievable. Your goal also must be realistic. If you want to save $6,000, but your salary and expenses make that physically impossible, you’re setting yourself up for a loss.
R - Your goal must be relevant and hold some personal relevance from you. It’s great to save $6,000, but if you don’t have a reason why you want to save that much money, it’s very difficult to stay motivated. Choose your reason why and make sure it’s not something that you’ve chosen for yourself and it hasn’t been chosen by someone else for you.
T - Lastly, make sure your resolution is time-bound. If you’ve got a deadline, it makes it much easier to achieve your goal. Make sure your end date fits with the rest of the S.M.A.R.T. framework.
Make a plan
Now you know what your goal is, it’s time to plan. Don’t wait until the last minute to create a plan – ensure you’ve done your research. Creating a detailed plan will help you to stick to your resolution. It aids you in considering what tactics you’ll implement and strategies to stay on track when times are tough.
Anticipate some hurdles
Speaking of tough times, preparing yourself for some obstacles means that when they hit, they’ll come as less of a shock. Using the goal of saving $6,000 as an example, you need to have a plan for the unexpected. Maybe your dog swallowed a piece of Lego, and you’re hit with an expensive vet bill, or you’ve had to fork out a few extra dollars while your partner is off work sick. Whatever it may be, if you’ve put together a contingency plan that considers the unexpected, these roadblocks won’t be so bad if they do pop up – they’ll be more like speed bumps!
Choose your start and end date
If you didn’t do this in your S.M.A.R.T. framework planning, you must define your start and end date. Will your resolution take place from January 1st-December 31st? Or have you left it a few days late and need to start on January 12th? If that’s the case, do you still finish on December 31st, or do you finish on January 12th the next year? There’s no right or wrong answer – it comes down to what you want your resolution to look like.
Celebrate your wins
During your regular progress check-ins, make sure you’re celebrating your wins! Decide what a ‘win’ looks like and consider an appropriate reward. If your goal revolves around saving money, spending money on a reward may not be the best idea. Maybe you could treat yourself to a long bath or ask your partner to cook your favourite meal. Another thing you could do would be to include your reward within your bigger reward. For example, “if I can save $8,000 instead of $6,000, I’ll treat myself to an extra experience on my holiday.”
Learn from your setbacks
Everyone has setbacks and failures. If we didn’t, we would never learn from our mistakes. Slip-ups happen – it’s how we deal with them that matters. You can waste time feeling guilt, shame, anger, or sadness when your progress stalls or you can acknowledge what went wrong and keep on track. If you splurged and spent money, you should have been saying, that’s ok. Your contingency plan should (hopefully!) include what you need to do to stay on track in this instance. Keeping a resolution journal or tracker can also help you record your relapses and help you see if there’s a pattern involved.
Believe in yourself
Most importantly, believe in yourself. You’ve got this. You should be so proud!
Have you got a new year’s resolution you’ll stick to? Let us know via our Instagram DM's!