How to Set New Years Resolutions and Make it Past February 1st

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Have You Set your New Years Resolutions Yet?

This is the time of the year when everyone is concerned with their newly created New Years resolutions. We all fathom up new ideas of what we want to achieve in the new year and we share that goal(s) with friends, family, and our social sphere on the Internet. Resolutions vary from:

“I want to lose 10 pounds”
“I want to stop eating ice cream this year”
“I want to travel to 3 new countries in 2016”

Articles in newspapers, magazines, and online publications preach what you should be working toward. And even celebrities share their resolutions in an effort to inspire the thousands who follow them.

Mark Zuckerberg, owner and founder of Facebook, just announced that he wants to run 1 mile every day in 2016 totaling 365 miles for the year. Within hours, he had over 20,000 people join him in the effort through his dedicated Facebook page.

The Sad Truth

The truth of the matter is that most people won’t make it past February 1st with their New Years resolutions. Life happens and we slip back into our daily routine forgetting about the optimistic goals that we dreamed up coming off of the New Year.

How You Can Defy the Odds this Year

However, most doesn’t have to mean everyone! We all have the ability to set New Years resolutions and make them become a reality. It simply takes the right combination of strategic planning and hard work.

Below are 5 simple ways that you can put yourself on the right path to achieve your New Years resolutions in 2016.

1. Be Realistic

Think seriously about what you want to achieve this year and remember your limitations. Customize the new years resolutions to who you are and the time that you have available. Don’t feel like you have to go over the moon to impress others with your New Years resolutions.

If you want to read 20 books in 2016, but also work 60 hours a week, go to the gym 5 days a week, and have 2 children, it’s probably not that realistic that you’ll be able to achieve what you’re setting out to do. Break down the time that it may take you to read a book then realistically figure out how many you could read in your free time over the next year.

2. Be specific

There’s nothing less motivating than creating a New Years resolution with no specificity. Let’s look at a classic example.

“I want to run more in 2016.”

How do you hold yourself accountable to achieve that resolution? It’s important to make your goal quantifiable. Let’s look at a slightly different, yet much more motivating and achievable goal.

“I want to complete four 5k races in 2016.”

Now we’re working with a specific goal that you can plan out over the year. Maybe you sign up for a 5k today that is in March. After you finish your March 5k, you find another in June and sign up for it. So on and so forth. That’s a specific goal that will force you “to run more in 2016.”

By making your resolutions specific, you have more to push yourself towards. You also gain the ability to plan more strategically as I demonstrated with our running example.

3. Team up with a friend of a group

It’s easy to forget about the resolutions that you set when you are the only one committed to achieving them. Find a friend or a family member that wants to share the same New Years resolution and use each other as a continuous motivator.

I personally am much more motivated to go to the gym on a consistent basis when I have a workout partner. On the lazy days, they are the one that gets me off the couch and the same goes when they are feeling tired. Working towards a goal with a friend can also encourage friendly competition sometimes pushing you past the goals that you initially set.

4. Create a plan that lasts longer than January

I’ll use this example again because it is easy to see how small changes can make a significant difference.

“I want to read 12 books in 2016.”

Good goal. It is both realistic and specific. The next step is to create a simple calendar and choose the books that you want to read. This may take a little bit of time as you’ll have to research books at the library or online, but it will give you something to constantly look forward to.

Once you’ve created the calendar, hang it next to your bed or in your kitchen so that you’re always reminded of your goal. As you make your way through the books, your year will fly by and you’ll achieve your New Years resolution.

5. Make an initial investment

If you want to learn something new or shed the extra holiday pudge that you put on, make an investment into your goal. Sign up for private training sessions 2x per week for the next three months and put the money down. By locking yourself into a routine for the next three months, you are much less likely to push your goal to the side.

The same goes for learning. If you want to acquire a new skill, find a course at your local university or online and make the initial investment. You’ll be much more inclined to attend each class, read the assigned books, and participate in the class.

Most Important: Strive to Make it a Habit

Studies have shown that it takes as little as 21 days to create a new habit. We are habitual beings and much more likely to achieve a New Years resolution if we turn it into a habit that we perform on a daily or weekly basis. Think of some of the habits that you already have.

Maybe you attend the gym habitually everyday after you finish work. At some point in your life, that was not a part of your everyday routine. Over time, it became one of your habits and you are now achieving your fitness goals.

The same goes for any of your New Years resolutions. Make it a habit and you’re chances of reaching December 31st with your eyes still on the prize are much greater.


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