I think the worst part of New Year’s is the pressure to make a resolution. Now don’t get me wrong, I think that the New Year is a great time to take a look at one’s life and figure out what one might do differently, but the prospect of being able to make and keep your New Year’s resolution seems so overwhelming and fruitless.
I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to make a resolution and stick to it and bring about real change in your life. You just have to approach it in a way that will ensure success.
#1 – Like, no LOVE, your resolution.
There is lots of pressure to come up with a New Year’s resolution. I mean, what else can you talk about at your New Year’s Eve party other than your drama-filled Christmas dinner?
The first rule of keeping a resolution is to actually like it, and to be passionate about it. Sure, we can all say we want to lose 5 pounds or be nicer to our kids or spend less time at work but is that what you REALLY want? Does thinking about your resolution get your heart pounding, your blood rushing, and your cheeks flushing?
If yes, go for it.
If not, it’s not the right resolution for you.
What you want for your resolution is something that will make your heart sing. Something that you really, really want to happen, something that you will make a priority in your life.
Because if you want something really badly, you are more likely to work hard to get it.
#2 – Make your resolution a little smaller.
Most of our resolutions are BIG. Big because we want to bring about a big change in our lives, and we tend to like to go BIG when we make declarations.
The problem with BIG is that it sounds good at conception but is hard to complete during the follow-through. We live chaotic, jam-packed and exhausting lives, and trying to pack in a whole bunch of change at once is simply not sustainable.
And when something is not sustainable, we give up.
So make your resolution smaller. Want to lose weight, eat better and get more exercise? Sounds great but chances are if you try to change your diet, get off your butt, and lose weight all at the same time you will fail because that’s a lot of change at once.
So choose one of these things as your resolution.
Try choosing exercise. Make some time for exercise 4 days a week but continue to eat the way you do. You might find that once you start exercising, regularly, you will want to tweak your diet a little bit because you are feeling so good and once you do that you might lose weight.
Or try choosing to eat better. Tweak your diet a bit without adding the pressure of exercise. You just might find that eating better makes you feel healthier, which might get you exercising more which could lead to weight loss.
See how this works? Choose one thing. Anyone can do one thing, especially you.
#3 – Write it down.
A sure fire way to keep your New Year’s resolution is to write it down.
It’s easy to declare at the stroke of midnight what you are resolute about in the New Year, but putting your resolution onto paper is the key to succeeding at keeping it.
Capturing your words on paper will serve two purposes. The first is that the words are no longer just floating around in your head but they have been captured. And words that are captured are more easily remembered.
The second reason to write something down is that now you have physical proof of your resolution. This proof you can put at the top of your to-do list or on the fridge or next to your bed. Somewhere where you will see it regularly and be reminded of it.
So write down your small resolution. Be as specific as possible. Don’t say, “get more exercise” say “walk 1 mile 3 times a week.” Don’t say “eat healthier” say “add vegies to my dinner during the work week.” Clear, measurable items.
#4 – Find someone to hold you accountable.
We all mean to keep our resolutions. Really we do. We share them with our friends and family, and they are excited about them, but then they go off to keep their own resolutions and forget about yours.
And more often than not, we fail at those resolutions and don’t want to talk about resolutions at all, ever again.
So find someone who will not only hold you accountable but who can help you take measurable steps to hit that resolution out of the park.
My recommendation? A life coach. Namely, ME!
#5 – Reward yourself.
We all like to think that keeping a resolution is a reward unto itself, and in a way, it is. Losing weight would be wonderful. Feeling healthier could change your life. Succeeding would make you feel so much better about yourself.
And, yes, these things are true, but really we all love rewards. LOVE REWARDS.
So think about something that you could reward yourself with if you succeed in sticking to your resolution. Something that would make your heart sing.
Last year a client resolved to be nicer to her mother-in-law. She made a list specifying what that would look like, and we set out a timeline for her to make those things happen. We had monthly benchmarks to review her progress.
We decided that if she met those monthly goals, she would reward herself with a manicure, something she loved but rarely indulged in. We also decided that if she kept it up for 6 months, she would get a massage as well. And, the cherry on top, if she was still being nicer to her mother-in-law in one year, she would get a spa weekend away.
I know you are probably thinking that this is one selfish resolution, but it worked! My client was able to consistently get along with her mother-in-law, which completely changed the dynamic in her family, and along the way, she got beautiful nails and a little self-care. Really it was a win/win for everyone.
As a life coach, I am a big believer in life change. I think we all need to shake things up to keep things interesting and make ourselves happy. I also believe in doing it one step at a time.
So think carefully this year before you make your resolution. Make sure it is something that will truly make your face flush and your heart pound.
This is the year you can do it! You can keep your New Year’s Resolution.
How awesome would that be? It is possible. You CAN do it!
If you have read this far you must really want to keep your New Year’s resolution.
Let me help you, NOW, so that you can make 2019 YOUR year!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.