Keep up with New Year’s resolutions

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By Haley King

Illustration by Faith Evans
Illustration by Faith Evans

The New Year is slowly approaching and with the holiday season already here, many people are reevaluating some of their life choices. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity for all those who have failed to set goals for themselves previously. It’s time to start making those changes you have pushed aside all year long. Don’t wait for the new year, don’t wait for next week, the time is now.

Resolutions are traditions many people participate in, allowing them to start over with new goals and a “new year.” Generally, most people’s New Year’s resolutions tend to revolve around the same themes, such as reading more, exercising more, eating healthier, not procrastinating, or even learning a new language. These are all iffy goals to have because each one lacks specificity.

The trick to making and keeping the best New Year’s resolution is to make it concrete. For example, if the mission is to read more, don’t write down “read more.” Instead ask specifics,  “When is it done?” and “How can the goal be kept on track?” An appropriate resolution might be, “read every other night for three months,” or “read three books by August.” Set a goal for yourself that’s measurable so you’ll feel like you’re making progress.

However, do not go overboard and make extreme goals. Goals like “travel the world” or “climb to the top of Mount Everest” are not reasonable.

Making your goal public to friends and family can help keep the focus on the main target. They can help support decisions and can encourage the resolutions. Getting enough support to keep New Year’s resolutions will greatly improve your chances of sticking to your intentions.

Most worthwhile goals take time and dedication so don’t expect it to be an overnight process. It is important to know your limitations and don’t let setbacks derail your momentum. It is all about motivation. Without any kind of dedication, resolutions are simply going to be nothing more than a few words written on a piece of paper.

Setting up small goals along the way will help lead to higher chances of overall success. Little goals will help with motivation and victory. Allowing yourself to feel smaller increments of success will help you achieve long term goals. The smaller the goal is to start, the more likely you are to stick to it and get that feeling of accomplishment.

Keep the resolutions on a few pieces of paper and put them in places frequently visited. Putting them in common places such as the bathroom, the refrigerator, or even on  the bed post, and rereading them everyday will help the goals to stick. It will also be a reminder throughout the day and the year.

Most importantly, it is pointless to make resolutions if you have no real intention of keeping them. Keep up with new goals and track progress to stay on top of it. Throughout the year check up on resolutions and be sure to stay positive.

Positive reinforcements are an excellent way to stay on top of things. It works for dogs. It works for children. It works for adults, too. Setting up a reward system is a great way to stay motivated. Never set a reward that is counterproductive toward your goal. For example, if the goal is to lose weight, don’t go out and eat a slice of pizza for every five pounds lost. Instead, for every 10 pounds lost, eat a small chocolate. That way you’re not moving two steps forward and three steps back.

Come up with a system to periodically monitor progress and assess whether a change in strategy is necessary. It requires will power, discipline and a fluctuation in mindset between living in the moment and planning. Creating resolutions can be a fun way to improve as the new year approaches. Simple, detailed goals will ensure a successful year.