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We all make New Year’s resolutions, but most of us fail to stick to them. Our motivation and self-control is always much higher in the run-up to December 31 than it is two weeks into January. But to follow through with resolutions requires months or even years of willpower. Here are some strategies to help you stay committed:
Take Small Steps
Your resolution might be something big, such as losing weight, learning a language, or getting a promotion at work. Don’t get disheartened if you haven’t achieved it in the first few weeks of the year; you’ve got to take it step by step. Be proud of yourself for a week of healthy eating, a few hours spent studying Spanish, or a completed deadline in the office.
Let the World Know
The best way to motivate yourself and stick to your resolutions is by telling people. They will hold you accountable to the goals you set and provide a support system. Tell your family, message your friends, or publish it on Facebook. By letting people know about your resolutions, you’re putting an extra incentive in place for yourself.
Put It In Your Schedule
Write down regular checkups in your planner to assess your progress. Set alerts on a digital calendar every week to remind yourself of your resolutions so that it is harder to pretend they don’t exist. For bigger resolutions, check in with yourself every three months to see how you’ve progressed.
Join a Community
Being surrounded by a community of like-minded people makes it easier to keep working on your resolutions, so look for relevant groups in your area or online. Join a book club if you want to read more, connect with a running group if you want to improve your fitness, or subscribe to a civic newsletter if you want to be more politically active.
Remind Yourself Why
Your reason for investing in your health or saving money is important, so remind yourself of this every time you feel like giving up. Make placeholder goals for larger resolutions and celebrate your progress when you reach them—this will also help keep you on track. If you want to run a 10K by the end of the year, set a goal to run 2K by the end of February, 5K by the end of June, and so on.
Keep on top of your goals with these self-regulation tips for a happy and productive year ahead.