What are New Year’s Resolutions doing on a Happiness Blog? They are often the source of stress then shame as we fail to reach them. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone – gyms do very well the first quarter of the year because so many people have resolved to get fit but struggle to stick with their new workout habit. Here are a few tips on making resolutions into a habit:
- Make your resolution for yourself, not anyone else. If it’s not meaningful or desirable to you, you won’t be motivated for long since guilt and shame are poor long-term motivators.
- Work on one thing at a time. Trying to make lots of changes all at once might feel exciting in the beginning when we’re eagerly anticipating becoming our brand-new best self, but this quickly fades when we feel overwhelmed and lose hope and momentum.
- Set goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based. This structures a very clear behavioral path with a concrete goal, improving the chance for change.
- Create an environment to help you succeed. If you want to eat healthier, toss the chips and buy some veggies. If you want to watch less TV and get better sleep, remove the TV from the bedroom. Your habits will be easier to change if you’re supported rather than tempted by your environment.
- Create a visual of small progress. A list, a chart, x’s on a calendar… something to see that you are moving toward your goal little by little. If we ignore or dismiss small progress we are more likely to lose motivation before we make any big progress because we’ll mistakenly think we’re not moving forward at all.
- Have an accountability buddy, or a partner to do the activity with. This provides praise, encouragement, support or commiseration as needed in the moment.
- Focus on progress not perfection. Recognize we are imperfect beings and progress in reality is rarely linear. You’ll slip up probably more than once. That’s okay. Celebrate successes and forgive failures.