Everyone has at least one thing they’d like to achieve in the new year, whether it’s an official resolution or a broader goal for 2022. Of course, sticking to our new years plans is often a task that is easier said than done. If you find yourself wondering what steps you can take to ensure your new year’s resolution (or resolutions) is foolproof, here are a few tried-and-true tips from the experts.
Shoot for ambitious goals.
According to the Harvard Medical School, a big resolution doesn’t necessarily mean a less obtainable one. Because more ambitious dreams are more compelling, we often feel a greater sense of motivation to reach our goals. However, that doesn’t mean you have to jump into your goal all at once. It’s a good idea to break up larger resolutions into smaller steps, and list out what exactly you plan to accomplish to achieve your new year’s resolution.
Make your resolution as accessible as possible.
The concept of “activation effort” as coined by author Shawn Achor involves the effort it takes to begin a task, and as Mental Floss notes, even a tiny amount of extra activation effort can drastically reduce our motivation to do something. To remind yourself of your goal and make reaching it a more natural process, keep your means of achieving the goal accessible (i.e. leaving your hiking equipment by your door to motivate you to hike more often.)
Have a plan to set in motion.
“Eat healthier” is a lot more vague than, say, “plan meals and grocery lists each week.” Take the time to consider what it is you’d like to do, and what is involved in doing it. If you have a roadmap to follow, you’re far less likely to give up on your resolution than if it remains overly broad or generalized.
Have a network of support.
Goals are easier to reach when you have cheerleaders, as Forbes points out. Share your resolutions with friends, family, and other loved ones who might be able to help out by reminding you of what you’ve set out to achieve. If they have resolutions of their own, forming a group to encourage each other on your individual journeys can also motivate everybody involved and make the experience less of a stressful or isolating one.
Don’t forget to celebrate milestones.
When breaking up your new year’s resolution into a multi-step process, having some kind of acknowledgment or celebration of reaching each checkpoint can help you to stay on track. Even if it’s something as small as having a movie night in or trying out a new baking recipe, creating rewards for yourself can remind you of how far you’ve come and motivate you to keep going.