Wondering how to keep your New Year's resolutions? Read on for tips for keeping your resolutions and top New Year's resolution ideas.
Setting SMART New Year’s goals
Can you guess why so many resolutions fail? Most people initially set their goals too high or don’t take the time to plan how they will accomplish their resolutions. This is a big factor in success. Try using the following technique, the SMART theory. Many companies use this technique to help employees create a healthy and productive path to success.
SMART is an effective tool that provides the clarity, focus, and motivation you need to achieve your goals. It can also improve your ability to reach them by encouraging you to define your objectives and set a completion date. SMART goals are also easy to use by anyone, anywhere, without the need for specialist tools or training.
It goes like this:
- S-Specific: Decide exactly what you are going to do, when you will do it, and where. Make it clearly defined and simple.
- M-Measurable: Set up a plan for how you’ll measure your progress. What steps will you take that will demonstrate you’re moving forward? What are the milestones you’ll reach along the way?
- A-Attainable: Make it reasonable. Setting a goal to lose 50 pounds in 3 months can actually backfire because it’s unlikely to happen in any sustainable way. Or completing a How about aiming to lose 5 to 8 pounds a month for X amount of months? Or set a resolution focused on behaviors—such as attending a Workshop every week or completing a targeted item you have been trying to achieve but putting off.
- R-Realistic: This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it's important to retain control over them. So, make sure that your plans drive everyone forward, but that you're still responsible for achieving your own goal.
- T-Timely: Set an end date. Keeping goals open-ended can lead to kicking the can down the road. Instead, aim to accomplish your goal in a certain period of time (keeping high priority on it being attainable!).
With a SMART approach, coming up with a reasonable resolution is doable. And if you follow these guidelines, you have a much better chance of success.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
The 20 Best New Year’s resolution ideas
Use these thought-starters to set SMART resolutions.
1. Get more physically active.
Make it happen by entering it into your schedule, e.g. “I’m going to increase my exercise routine from two days a week to three days a week and add one Yoga class”
2. Meet new people.
The term “networking” can be daunting. Think about how you might break this down into something more bite-sized, like, “Attend an online class in a group setting.”
3. Read more often.
If this is your resolution, plan a time each day when you can spend 10 minutes reading for fun. They say reading in the morning can help kick-start your brain! Once implemented and successfully achieved in January then set an increased goal for February.
4. Take time during the workday for yourself.
Try blocking a lunch hour on your calendar every day for the next month. Planning ahead is a simple step that provides accountability and keeps conflicting meetings off your schedule. While you might have to shift the time slot, you can approach each day knowing there’s a block of time reserved for you.
5. Save more money.
Start with mini budgeting goals. For example, if you’d like to work up to saving $50/week, start by saving $5/day on coffee and selected food items by making them at home. After a few weeks, prep a larger percent of your lunch to save even more. Try saving the money in an envelope or jar and open it at the end of the month to see how much money you have saved!
6. Donate to organizations you care about.
It doesn’t have to be money: Think of the small, actionable ways you can contribute to any greater cause, like clearing out your closet and donating the items that no longer fit or giving a food item from your lunch to the homeless.
7. Make more free time.
If you can, try setting your phone alarm to leave work at a specific time. If that’s not viable, can you leave 10 minutes earlier than you did last week? What about 5 minutes today, and five minutes tomorrow (and so on)?
8. Get back on your regular workout schedule.
If you’re looking to resume a practice you previously loved, determine a realistic frequency and timing to take it back up. For example, commit to attending a post-work yoga class twice per week or try a new type of class virtual fitness can help to provide you tons of options see what you like, and stick to a schedule.
9. Get up earlier.
Starting with a manageable goal—like waking up 10 minutes earlier—is way easier than waking up one hour earlier. Every other month, reset your alarm for 10 minutes earlier and you’ll gain a whole 60 minutes per morning by the end of 2020—that’s an entirely new lifestyle! Giving yourself more time in the morning allows you to start off your day earlier and a relaxed approach to a slow start instead of a rushed one.
10. Refine your bedtime routine.
Setting boundaries can help you focus more on the activities you really want to prioritize—including sleep. If you’re cleaning in the kitchen, checking emails from your couch, or starting any project within an hour of your bedtime, it may keep you up later than intended. Try implementing a new routine that includes wind-down time in the hour before you go to bed—even if you need to break it down into baby steps with 10 minute increments. Want to take it a step further? Keep screen time and distracting devices out of the bedroom.
11. Go to bed earlier.
If your goal is to get to sleep earlier, start by determining how much earlier and how often you’ll practice this routine. Start with 5 to 10 minutes—a phone alarm can help you by setting cues—and build up from there.
12. Eat more vegetables.
“More vegetables, more often” can be your mantra for 2020. But to make that more specific: Try to add one new veggie to dinner meals I make at home this month, which can have you experimenting with new recipes, flavors, and foods you’ll love to cook and eat before you know it.
16. Eat regular meals and snacks.
Stashing a piece of produce in your purse can go a long way when you’re on a long call at work or in traffic on your way home from work. A healthy snack can keep you from feeling ravenous and potentially overeating at your next meal. For specificity, make it your goal to pack at least one apple, pear, or bag of carrots in your bag every day so you can snack when you’re in transit.
17. Drink more water.
Drinking water has tons of benefits, but one of the unsung ones is that it forces you to get up and move periodically throughout the day. Hydrate (or at least find your way to the water cooler) every hour to get moving more often. Plus, the flushing will make you get up to go to the bathroom whether you like it or not. ????
18. Plan (and go on!) a summer trip.
In cold climates, having something to look forward to when winter is over can help you feel better in the moment. Block an hour every weekend to look at travel destinations. Each week, you can narrow down your list and start exploring availability. Print off some fun pictures to help you visualize your destination.
19. Limit your weekly drinks
If you are a get home and have a drink or glass of wine to unwind each day it can be hard to stop this habit. Try reducing a daily drink to once every two days and then to only on a Friday or weekend. Scheduling a walk or exercise class instead can help you clock extra activity and leave you feeling revived rather than depleted.
20. Cut back on excess spending.
Much like tracking your meals and snacks, your spending habits can go awry if you don’t pay attention to where the dollars go. Start small by making a grocery shopping list before heading out to the supermarket. It’ll help you to be more mindful of where you can purchase a more affordable option, but it’ll also help you stay on top of this one type of spending at one specific location, rather than attempting to blindly “cut back” overall.
Tips for keeping your resolution
Have you identified your resolution? Great! Now it’s time to share it with the people who can help you stay on track. If you let your friends and family in on your dream, you can use their support to help you make it a reality.
Now that you’re armed with the strategies to turn your resolution into a reality, why wait? There’s no rule that says you can’t start before New Year’s Day.
Good luck and remember to have fun with it, share your thoughts and goals with others and promote they do the same!