Kick The Year Off Right: 10+ Ways To Keep Your New Year’s Resolution
How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolution
Losing track of your New Year's resolutions doesn’t mean your goals aren’t achievable - it simply means that the methods used weren’t effective enough. With a bit of planning and tweaking you can totally rock all of your goals this year! Here are my top 10+ doable ways to finally make those resolutions stick - for good.
January is here, and you know what that means: New Year’s resolution time!
I've got my goals for the new year all ready to go, and I reckon you've probably got idea or two of what you want to achieve this year too.
However, you might be stuck on the question we all ask ourselves at this time of year:
Will I finally stick to my resolution?!🤔
Every year it's the same old thing - you set some resolutions on January 1st, give them your all during that first week, but then life gets in the way and you begin slack a bit - or maybe stop completely. 😔
You realise this and decide to start again, but not immediately — you put them off until the end of January, but eventually they begin to fade away into the distance until you forget about them altogether.
I know this all too well, and I reckon this might sound a tad familiar to you too as you’re reading this post. 🤫
Year after year, this would be the story of my life. I would set up everything I needed to start and finish the goal(s) I chose, but literally everything would seem to get in the way. 😴I was too busy, too tired, or too unmotivated.
We’re not Alone.💡
Some research I’ve done (yay Google 💻!) has told me that around 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, but ONLY 8 percent are successful in achieving their goals.
And… 80 percent of all people who make New Year's resolutions fall off the wagon by the first week of February.
It's a New Year nightmare!
I mean come on: New Year’s resolutions have been a part of our tradition since the ancient Babylonians (annual promises to their gods 4000 years ago), 🤦♂️ yet we’re still sooo BAD at them.
This is bananas right? Makes you wonder why they’re even a thing!
So, resolution after resolution I would start (barely), and then fail. I couldn’t understand what the problem was. What confused me the most was the fact that when I would make commits to myself at other points of the year most of the time I’d achieve them.
What about New Year’s resolutions was blocking me from doing them?
Was it the label? Was it the time of year? Was it simply mental?
I got so frustrated with it that I almost quit New Year's resolutions all together - but then BINGO! 💭 Almost quitting is actually how I started keeping and achieving successful resolutions. It all happened two years ago.
Hold your horses, quick story time coming!
I was thinking about giving up the New Year's resolution tradition (as stated above).
In all honesty I felt like it was doing more harm then good. I would start and stop my resolutions throughout January, which would then carry through to February, and end with me giving up around a week after Valentines.
The failure was making my February unhappy year-in and year-out.
After all I was beginning and giving up on a commitment, and it never feels good to think as though you quit - especially when you know you could have done better.
I always say if you make the commitment then keep it; a commitment is a promise to yourself, and there’s nothing stronger or more important than keeping a promise to yourself.
I was not even appreciating the fact that I was enjoying sunny yellow rays in the sunshine state (Florida) in the winter while my friends up north were freezing in the gray dark waiting for spring to come.
Oops I’m getting off track here.
Anyways, when I told some of my friends and my sisters that I was giving up resolutions during our ‘annual after Christmas resolution prep meeting’, they flipped. Like legit flipped. I got a whole bunch of talking to’s, and long story short it all went something along the lines of, “Izzie, we’ve never known you to give up on something you want… when you wanted to lose weight you found a way to keep going so don't give up on this… you know better… throw yourself in… try something new… etc.”
Although what they said wasn’t directly instrumental to my subsequent resolution keeping ninja skills, what they said did give me an idea!
I went home that day with a renewed fire to create a New Year's resolution plan that was successful.
I decided I would shake it up - I came up with the idea to completely cleanse myself and my mind before starting any resolution. I reckoned it had to be the close succession of the holidays and the New Year, and working on that transition would kick me out of holiday bad habits and set my whole mind and body ready to start the New Year's changes I wanted - kinda like a pre-resolution routine.
With that, I set together a list of commitment changes to incorporate into my plan.
Guess what then happened… success!
Turns out your mental and physical state before taking on a challenge can be a HUGE factor in determining victory. The fact that you’re coming straight out of a super fun and indulgent couple of weeks into normal life and discipline is what can rust away your strictness - whether your resolutions have to do with food, family, work, or even plain old fun.
That’s why a transitional system is so important.
I created it. I tried it.
And it worked: a year later I had kept the three New Year's resolutions I had decided on.
So now you have the general formula behind my methods, I think it’s time to break it all down. I'm so excited to share this with you. If you incorporate these into your New Year's resolution plan you will get the result you want!
Losing track of your New Year's resolutions doesn’t mean your goals aren’t achievable. It simply means that the methods used weren’t effective enough.
That's all, you can do it!
Let’s get started. Drum roll please.
Evaluate: Choose The “Right Goal(s)”
I want you to start by CHOOSING the right goal. What do I mean by this?
You need to make sure that you’re setting a realistic goal. Why? A crucial part of success and an important part of improvement is knowing what you can actually do in a set period of time or with your current skill set - you don't want to choose something that is not realistic.
Also, don't choose something friends or society are making you think you want. What would be the point? For example, don’t put pressure on yourself to date more just because our family members have been wanting you to do so.
Make sure YOU are comfortable with your resolutions.
It's your life, your mind, your happiness. Really think and look deep down to find what you truly want to achieve.
Looking at your life as a whole and at your current situation is a great way to start.
Rate certain things in your life from 1 to 10 - such as health, finance, personal growth, family, friends, relationships, career, and dreams achieved - 1 being ‘not where you want it to be’ and 10 being ‘exactly where you want it to be’.
When you recognize the areas that you’d like to focus, it helps you determine the goals that will make the most impact on your life in a positive healthy way.
Get Your Self Ready For Success: Cleanse Your Mind & Body
After you have settled on your goals, the next step will be to prep yourself for a positive healthy year through a cleanse - yes, even if your goals aren’t health related.
By taking a couple of days to cleanse before starting your resolution you’ll likely see a higher rate of success.
What you probably don't realise is that after the holidays your body and mind are not ready to take on the role of tackling goals, no matter how healthy or organised you usually are.
You're all partied out and you've got into temporary bad habits - and that's okay, it is the holidays after all.
But this does mean that what you need to do is quickly cleanse yourself in the week afterwards, or else you won’t be ready to achieve your goals - no matter what they are. A mind and body cleanse is the perfect way to get your head in the game so to speak, because you’ll be taking on smaller, more manageable challenges that will prep you for the large ones to come in the New Year.
This also correlates as to why I found it easier to achieve goals during other times of the year.
Lucky for you, if you have no idea how to start cleansing, I’ve got you covered!
I actually have a 5-Day FREE Food & Body Cleanse Challenge you can join!
The goal of the challenge? To have you feeling energized, restored, as well as to reboot your mind with amazing strategies, taste buds, and overall lifestyle changes so that you’ll be ready for anything!
There will be a cleansing food plan crafted to fill your body with the most nourishing, delicious foods to reset your cravings.
And bonus? It''ll kick start weight loss (bye bye - holiday pounds) and it'll help you become naturally energized so that you have the energy for your goals.
Also, we’ll work together on positive mindsets and daily routines to reboot your mind.
It’s a total body, mind renewal - perfect for giving your body some extra TLC and increasing vitality. Think of this week as 5 days of self-loving, and prep work to get you ready for the new year.
So, what Now?! My Commitment Changes.
You know how to prepare for amazing New Year success (with cleansing of course) I want to share with you some great mini-tips that really helped me with keeping motivated and focused.
Create A Theme For The Year
You might find this a bit funny, but it's a great way to connect your goals for the year. Choose a theme of how you want to act or feel (or both) in a year.
Some examples would be that you want to be creative, funny, adventurous, kind, caring, happier etc.
Print out signs, photos, and quotes to do with the theme and decorate your living space with them. It will give you a motivation boost and remind you of where you are with your goal.
Make Yourself A Sleeping Routine (And Stick To It)
Getting enough sleep when you’re trying to make a new commitment work is super important. Without sleep you will have low energy and feel lethargic - this will lead you to fall off the wagon.
I used to eat late (I’m talking 8:30 or later) and then I would watch TV (Netflix is king) until 12:30 or later, and I’d wake up at something like 7:50 and or at irregular times (I’m a student on a study schedule and work from home). As you can imagine, this routine would leave me quite tired all of the time.
My body was suffering from a lack of ‘sleep balance’ from the lack of a proper sleep schedule, and it affected both my mind and my performance in daily tasks.
I highly suggest to create a routine for regulating your sleep pattern to get the best out of your day. I’m not saying your should go to bed early (goodness knows I don’t), but do try to hit the hay earlier (and at a usual time) and to wake up at a regular time if you don’t already. This will help your body feel more refreshed and less tired throughout your day.
If you have consistent problems with getting to sleep or staying asleep during the night, checkout my blog post for 12 tips on getting better sleep here!
Start Journaling Your Fears And Your Gratitude
Why? Well because fear plays a major part in holding you back from making a change and going after what you want. It allows doubt and a lack of belief to creep up and prevent you from becoming what you are aspiring to be.
The only way to conquer your fears is to confront them. Start a ‘fear journal’: write down your fears, tackle them, and you’ll be able to turn a new positive page.
But on the same token, you still need to recognize the good in your life.
Starting a gratitude journal will give you a chance to pay attention to the beautiful things you don't normally recognize in your everyday life and keep you motivated to create even more positivity moving forward.
It's also an opportunity to be kind to your mind, a place celebrate even the smallest progress you achieve, and also a tool for reflecting.
Journaling is good for when you feel any kind of negative emotions because it will bring you back to the light and fix your energy. And don't worry if you don't know how to start: I cover how to start with Journaling in my FREE 5-Day Food and Body Cleanse which you can join here!
It will walk you through exactly what to do so that you’ll be 100% comfortable with using your journal.
Schedule Your Time… Even Those Cat Video Breaks
Time wasting… fun as it is, we gotta stop it.
We're all guilty of it: you say you’re only going to check your work email, then check your Facebook, then stumble upon an interesting video, which then leads you to a blog post, and then you endlessly scroll the posts on that blog until you realise you have no idea of what you were previously doing.
I do it too.
It's distractions like these that are taking us away from working on friendships and that are stopping us from completing the important things in life.
To prevent yourself from becoming regularly distracted, you need to start scheduling what you’re going to do on a daily basis - even your social media.
Start a goals calendar and write your to-do list down - you can check them off for a sense of achievement, but don’t overdo it. Remember, you need to be quite strict but you also have some flexibility with you time. Life isn’t perfect and there will likely be outside factors that have an effect on whether you complete all of your to-dos in a given day. Forgive yourself and move on.
Have a sense of balance - don't try and overfill the list with too many tasks. Allow yourself to share a moment with a friend or to take a second to watch traffic go by while drinking your coffee.
Allow yourself to maintain an equilibrium between general life and achievements.
If you want some help with setting up your lists and calendars, I have a FREE printable guide to help you do that! It’s called the ‘How To Use Lists and Calendars to Get Stuff Done Right Now’ guide, and you can download it free here >
End The Week With Reflection
I use this one every week - goals or not - but it's especially great for when you're trying to achieve something.
This ties in with my journaling recommendation as I personally suggest starting a reflection journal. You could sit and simply think on the week, but it won’t be as effective.
Each Friday I want you to sit down quietly and reflect on what you did this week; how you did it; what you didn’t do; and why you didn't do it. After writing all this down, look over it and work on creating solutions to any problems you see. This will make your productivity the next week EVEN better.
I also want you to highlight your wins as this will help you celebrate your effort more than you would have - the more victories you see on paper, the more fire you’ll have to create more of them.
Tidiness + De-Cluttering = Clear Mind…
If you keep the environment around you tidy and uncluttered, your mind will become clearer and you’ll feel more energized for success (that’s a ‘yay’ for energy)! ⚡
I find that when things around me are messy, I have a total mind MELTDOWN.
Seriously. I make silly mistakes due to the resulting ‘mind claustrophobia’ (yeah, that’s a thing for me 😉).
So when I get cleanin’, I basically feel like my whole life is in order and I feel 10x more motivated for success, as well as a lot happier and more clear-headed.
Keep in mind that de-cluttering doesn't have to be anything crazy;
for example, you can try to make a habit of keeping your desk organized, wipe the counters quickly in the kitchen, keep your draws dusted and uncluttered, and cleanup your vanity, so on and so forth. Your mind’ll thank’ya!
Create An End Of Day Self-Care Routine
A little self-care really helps. It's really important for you to relax and find some calmness at the en of your day - the goal here is to give your mind a break.
I know you have responsibilities - I cook dinner for my family of nine and have teeth cleaning duty for my little siblings at night - I get it, BUT I can't stress this step enough. Whatever it is you have to do, you need reach out for help with your responsibilities or rearrange your schedule to make time for yourself.
For example, your routine could look something like this: after dinner shut down your phone, take a shower, moisturize your skin, watch a bit of Netflix (if you can't resist some TV), write in your journals (this is a must), meditate on your dreams and goals, and then head to bed.
Work it around what you love to do to - what relaxes you - if you love crochet, add a bit of that (or if you’re like me, knitting). Do ya’ thing - just make sure it's a routine of self-care.
Flip Yo’ Thoughts
In order to achieve any goal you need to be able to stay positive. By flipping your negative thoughts into positive ones you will improve your attitude towards failure or uneasiness. Living in the positive will give your willpower an extra boost, even when you reach a tough situation.
I know you’re thinking,“Isabelle, how am I supposed to this? How do am I supposed to see hard situations in the positive?” It’s pretty hard right?
Well. Let's consider a common situation. Say you wanted to lose two pounds this week but only lost one. You could head straight to the negative and think “this isn't working I’m not losing weight, I might as well eat whatever I want”, OR you could think “Yay me! I stayed strict and healthy this week and I lost one whole pound, my body is healthy, therefore I am happy”.
See what I did there?
I flipped the negative response into a positive one, and that's what I want you to do. Try writing down a list of positive phrases for common situations find hard to handle in your journal.
It might not be easy to start with, but with practice, this point of view will become second nature.
Rewrite Your Story… The Way You Want It
Make your life a story, BUT re-write it the way you've always dreamed! No matter who you are you have a story -about what kind of person you are, what you believe and what’s important to you.
Even the smallest details are relevant.
Let's say: “I’m the kind of person who loves to travel.”, “I’m the person who makes coffee for my whole work office”, “My favorite holiday is Valentines” or something as simple as: “I don’t smoke.” And while these little parts of your story may seem like they’re set in stone, they definitively are NOT.
We actually can use these stories to change our long-term actions or behaviors.
This technique is called “story-editing.” I know it may sound weird but it works really, really well for changing behaviors, which is perfect for helping you keep your NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS. Cray right?
Here’s how it works:
I would start by writing out your ‘story’ as it currently exists. Events in your life, character traits, habits, etc. Write it as honestly as possible. Don't worry, you're not to write a 500 page biography - it could be as simple as a brief paragraph of your history or a list of statements, like: “I am the kind of person who does X and X”.
Highlight anything in your story that goes against the new behaviors you want to create for yourself.
For example, if you’re want to get more movement or exercise, but are the type of person who uses your car (instead of walking or biking) to get everywhere, then note this behaviour in your story.
Now get a second piece of paper (or word document) and rewrite the story. Use the exact same format as you did for your original story, but this time tell the story of someone who has made the behavioral changes you want to see. Think of it as a kind of visualisation.
This is a simple version of an intervention, and will help you with addressing where you are now and where you plan to be; this method can have long-lasting results. I believe that we need to define the identify what we dream of before we can build the habits and actions that will get us there.
In some ways we are what we pretend to be; that’s why we should learn to ‘pretend’ - the right way.
When Thinking Big, Get Help or Take Small Steps
If your main resolutions are drastic changes, you’re simply not going to be able to achieve them on your own. Why? Because when your first aim is something big and/or starkly different to the norm, it’s harder to create and maintain the correct starting point and steps toward accomplishing it alone.
Let's say you want to become your healthiest you and lose twenty pounds. All you need to do is start the right diet and workout. Sounds relatively easy right?
However, right now you eat donuts for breakfast, a burger for lunch, dessert after every dinner, and you never workout; you’ll have a big problem changing these choices over to veggies and eggs without someone there to help motivate you as it’s such a drastic difference in food.
It’ll be hard to stay disciplined, and in fact, you might end up failing altogether.
In this case you’d need to get a diet plan with everything laid out for you - that comes with support.
If I had a done-for-me weight loss program and buddy system when I needed to lose weight, I would have been way more successful at the beginning! Hence why I created my own 😉 - but I digress!
All of this brings me to another crucial question: what should you do when you can’t seem to get a hold of a major resolution - even with support and a plan?
Well, I would tell you to create a list of smaller steps first seem more realistic and less intimidating for completing now. Need an example?
Let’s take the weight-loss situation from before.
So again, if one of your goals is to reach a target weight, create a list of small measurable ways that you can embrace a healthier lifestyle, like:
Dedicating 30 minutes at day, to taking a walk.
Eating a healthy breakfast Monday through Friday.
Exploring a new fitness activity.
Slowly cutting sugar out of your diet. I've created a full ‘Cut The Sugar Program’ to help with this one, ‘cause I know it's a really hard to give up sugar.
Attending a new healthy cooking class each month.
Reaching out for help from a support group and creating easy steps/plans are my favorite ways to begin working for a large goal.
Not only is the victory won faster and more sustainably, but creating small goals will also help you feel as if your resolutions are within your reach and allow you to build upon a solid foundation going forward.
Make Yourself a Mantra
This one may sound weird to you if you’ve never been into ‘hippy stuff’ before. 😆 At least it did to me.
Long story short, I was always more practical than spiritual until I ran into some weight/health problems a while back. I kept running into more and more obstacles blocking my healing until I opened up to some more holistic approaches suggested by friends and family, and they really worked!
One of these approaches was the use of mantras.
A mantra is a phrase you create (or use one that inspires you already) that can help to remind you why you are reaching for your resolutions.
Simply write it (or them, if you want multiple mantras) down and repeat it to yourself everyday, whenever you need to be inspired.
A few positive words will really help you keep your goals in motion.
Find An Accountability Partner
If you’ve found a plan with support, you can skip this one, but for those of you who haven't: you should definitely find yourself an accountability partner.
You don’t have to set out for a goal on your own. People are stronger when they can rely on each other, which means that you should definitely let a friend, family member, or co-worker in on your journey.
If you didn’t lose that pound, make it to that dance class, work on your French, or hit a business goal, you don’t to tell all, but do try to be vulnerable. Let out some emotion, or ask for some support.
You do want to communicate just enough that your accountability partner can cheer you on when you smash your goals or help you up when you fall off track. Discussing your experiences really helps to put things in perspective.
Plus, team-work makes everything more fun! 😊
My go-to partners are my parents or sisters, but choose whoever you feel the most comfortable with. If you can't find anyone to buddy-up with, join my Goal-Getters group on Facebook and tag me!
Make Your Resolution(s) Your Personal Policy
Huh? What do I mean by this? 🤔
If your resolution is stressing you, you need to refocus it into something that seems less overwhelming. To give you an idea of how this works, try turning your resolution of ‘learning to play tennis 'properly'’ into a personal policy of meeting a friend you don’t see much for a game.
This will lessen the stigma that the term ‘New Year’s resolution’ carries with it and will make the goal seem more personal, joyful and meaningful.
Here, you’re not pressuring yourself into becoming a ‘perfect tennis player’ but instead are planning to improve your match skills while spending time with a friend. Double win! 👍
Make Sure To CHECK Yourself
Having an accountability partner is great for keeping you on track, but nothing is as great as you being accountable to yourself - only you truly know you! 👀
I want you to plan a monthly self-check to keep an eye on your own progress and get back on track if you need to.
You may have have stopped doing only the smallest goals, but even small missteps can lead to disaster.
One missed objective leads to the next, and the next, and the next, until you finally realise next year that you stopped altogether.
Along with a monthly check up, 4-5 months into the new year take the another opportunity to completely re-evaluate the resolutions you’ve set. It’ll allow you to home in on what goals have been achievable and what goals may require a change.
Yup, we’re heading back into ‘hippy territory’!
You’ve probably heard me talk about mindfulness before (in fact, I have a whole blog-post on it here!) and the fact remains that if you practice mindfulness, your chances of success will increase majorly - I guarantee it!
Mindfulness is a practice that involves being fully focused on the present moment and bringing awareness to your thoughts and feelings (again, if you want to read more into how mindfulness works, check out this blog post).
Okay, so you now know what mindfulness is - but, you’re probably wondering how it can help you keep your resolutions?! 🤷
By utilising the practice of simply being present, you'll become more appreciative for what you have achieved so far and you'll become more aware of how you feel and what you are doing; all of which mean that you'll be able to check yourself and correct yourself more often.
You see now? Amazing right!?
Actually, I'm so into mindfulness that I’ve created a FREE easy 4-Day step-by-step Mindfulness Program, so you can easily get the hang of the practice— after you finish it, mindfulness will start to become like second nature and’ll help your goals become easier to achieve!
Trust me, just try it out...!
Create a Good Morning Routine
Last but not least! Whoop whoop! 😀
I’ve found that the foundation of a great year starts with a solid morning routine.
You need to be able to start your day with a feeling of success; you need to feel your best and feel absolutely motivated! How do ya’do this? By creating an amazing morning routine, silly!
Find happy and healthy habits that are great for whatever your goals are. Create your schedule, adjust it, use it everyday, and stay with it - for the long term.
I do have an amazing list of morning habits I made for people who want to lose weight or be healthy, but they definitely apply to ALL ambit of everyday lifestyle and goal success. SO, you should definitely check it out.
That’s all folks!
You now have all of the tips, strategies, and plans I use for New Year’s resolution success!
I know that sometimes the new year can feel overbearing, scary, and confusing, but don’t worry: with the right plans and advice it can be great fun!
It's an amazing time to recognize the achievements we have in our lives and how we can build upon them in the form of resolutions!