How to make your new year's resolutions last

It’s a common joke that new year’s resolutions are for January and not the year. Here are a few ways to make sure that you stick with your resolutions for longer than just the first month of the year!


Rida Jaleel

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Published: Tue 10 Jan 2023, 10:53 AM

Last updated: Tue 17 Jan 2023, 12:27 PM

It’s that time of the year when everybody is gung-ho and ready to keep up their carefully selected new year's resolutions. Be it working out, picking up a new skill, or cooking more, you may find yourself fully fuelled and motivated to keep your word to yourself. But inevitably, life will get in the way, and inspiration will run out. How to deal with this resolution slump that we encounter after the first few earnest weeks of trying? Here are a few ways:

Start small

Resolutions are often lifestyle changes and a lifestyle, once firmly established, might be difficult to alter. As with most things, the smartest thing to do when it comes to resolutions is to start small rather than aim for the stars. If you’re someone who does not work out at all, Cardio every day might be a bit of a stretch. Rather, exercise 2 to 3 times a week and make it as varied as possible – include dance fitness, cycling, swimming, etc. Making lofty, unrealistic resolutions is a surefire way to make yourself give up as soon as you realize that you can’t stick with it. Smaller, incremental changes each day will lead to a huge cumulative difference by the end of the year.

Have the right intentions

When it comes to new year’s resolutions, having the right intentions is very important. We are in the habit of making changes for superficial reasons or purposes without realising that the aim of a good lifestyle change is to stick with it for a long time. Therefore, don’t work out to lose weight for a friend’s wedding; work out to remain fit and healthy for a long time. Don’t take guitar classes to impress a crush; take them to learn a lifelong skill. Attaching these deadlines or expectations to your resolutions mean that once you surpass them, you will no longer be interested in the practice itself. Ultimately, it is your health and positive well-being that are the focus of these resolutions.

Maintain a record or habit tracker

Many of us thrive on note-keeping and to-do lists. Maintaining a visual record of the practice of your resolution is a good way of reminding yourself of your commitment to it. Keep a chart at work/home and mark the days you succeed in fulfilling your resolution. The anticipation of ticking off the task once you’re done, and the very visible reminder of it will act as a motivating factor. Maintaining a record is also a good way of looking back at the end of the year and seeing how successful you’ve been in keeping your resolution. Installing habit trackers and/or reminders are also good ways of doing this.

Practice ‘habit stacking’

A scientifically proven way of introducing positive life changes is to practice ‘habit stacking’. This means attaching your desired habit before or after a habit that you already have. For instance, if your resolution is to express affection more openly, make it a habit to tell your partner or your kids that you love them right before going to bed. Make your bed immediately after brushing your teeth. Tagging a new habit to an existing habit makes the flow smoother, and over time, it will become instinctive to you.

Accountability partner

All of life is easier with a partner. This is true of new year's resolutions too. Find yourself a partner at home or work who will help keep you accountable for your resolutions and vice versa. Having an accountability partner who knows your intentions and aims will make you less likely to cave and break your resolve. Find yourself someone who is positive and will give you chances when you deserve them.

Reward commitment, not results

This is an important point to note while measuring how successful one has been with their new year’s resolutions. Oftentimes, our goals for ourselves might not meet our expectations. We might try our hardest to attain our driver’s licenses or quit smoking, but our perseverance might not always lead us to our desired aims. In such cases, it’s important not to beat ourselves up but instead, to support us like good friends would. Sometimes, you could try your hardest, and you might still not be successful. This is nobody’s fault. Consistency and effort are all that matter.

Celebrate small wins

What is life without the sweetness of small victories? Celebrating small milestones is what keeps us going to achieve the bigger aims. If your new year’s resolution is to reduce junk or to quit smoking, then, every day you go without smoking or ordering in takeout is a victory in itself. Every mile run, every push-up done, every minute of meditation, every home-cooked meal, and every page read signifies persistence and a job well done. Recognize the hard work involved in introducing a brand-new life change and congratulate yourself for doing a good job, each day.

If you’re late to the club and are still clueless as to what resolution to choose, here are a few good new year’s resolutions that do not all revolve around losing weight:

•Practice mindfulness

•Read a few pages before bed

•Reduce screen time/take a social media detox

•Learn a new instrument

•Meal prep more often

•Call your parents more

•Look for volunteering opportunities

•Maintain a better sleep schedule

•Do a small activity (a puzzle, for instance) with your child(ren) each day

•Journal more

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