Ah! The New Year is here, and the pressure to keep your resolutions is high on your radar. You open a notebook, find a pen, and begin to ponder about what you want to accomplish. But instead of allowing yourself to feel overwhelmed with things you didn’t get to do last year or with goals you plan on tackling this year, it’s better to overcome your fear of not completing your resolutions by altering the way you think about them.
Resolutions are not there to make you feel inadequate with your life. They’re there to guide you to fulfill your goals and wishes and set intentions. But while most resolutions tend to die by mid-February, there are ways to keep your new year’s resolutions in check. Scroll below to see the 11 ways you can keep your resolutions so you don’t feel guilty by the end of the year.
1. Make monthly intentions
Instead of making an annual list of goals that you’d like to accomplish for this new year, it might be a better idea to shrink that list and break up your goals into 12-month increments. For instance, think about a realistic list of what you think you can accomplish for the month of January. Do you want to exercise three times a week? Go food shopping twice a month and eat out less? Call your grandma more? Whatever you decide to write on your list, setting these mini intentions will allow you to feel less overwhelmed and accomplished than having annual resolutions.
2. Set reminders on your phone or on your calendar
One of the reasons why resolutions fall by the wayside is because we simply forget about them and go back to our normal routines that happened to roll over from the previous year. While there’s nothing wrong with going back to your old routines (because #newyearsameme), it’s important to realize that growth is an important element in learning and achieving new things in life. To help remember, add your goals to your Google Calendar or set reminders on your phone. The more you surround yourself with your new intentions, the more likely you are to want to accomplish them.
3. Hold yourself accountable
While we could blame everything under the sun for why our resolutions did not stick, the only person you can really say that got in your way of accomplishing what you want is you. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but holding yourself accountable is a surefire way to get things done, because, frankly, no one else will do it for you. You’re the only person — of course, besides your parents — that you should aim to make proud. Yes, it’s not easy to do half of these things, but if you track your progress, develop a personal growth plan, or do it with a buddy, then you may enjoy completing these goals after all.
4. Use apps that will help you keep things in check
If you need something in your life, then there’s probably an app for that. As funny as it is, it’s probably true. Apps are there to help you get your life together and keep things on track. For instance, if one of your resolutions is to drink more water, you should download Plant Nanny. Or, if you’re hoping to save a little bit of cash, make sure to download Acorns to throw that moolah into your savings account. Whatever your resolutions are, figure out which app is out there that can assist your needs and your long-term goals.
5. Journal your progress at the end of each month
Another great way to keep your new year’s resolutions in check is by monitoring your progress at the end of each month. In a journal, jot down what you’ve accomplished, what went right, what you had to change, and what you want to fix. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up and give up during this process. Your resolutions will not happen overnight; it’s about the journey, not the destination.
6. Work on your resolutions with a friend
Unless you’re a superstar at accomplishing goals, it can be easy to lose track of your progress when you do things by yourself. Instead, try finding a friend that will encourage you to work things through. You both can accomplish goals and hold each other accountable when one of you slacks off. Bonus: You’ll automatically have a buddy to celebrate your victories in additions to your failures. Having a strong support system can boost your mood and make you more determined to go after your dreams. Plus, it’s not a bad way to begin the year by accomplishing your goals with a friend by your side.
7. Involve self-care practices so you don’t feel overwhelmed
Nothing will make you scream “eff it” quite like stress and anxiety. Because let’s be real: if accomplishing your resolutions was easy, then everyone would be doing it. However, if you feel stress is becoming more apparent in your life, then it might be a good idea to take a break and focus on you. Take a long bath, meditate, and eat a healthy meal. When you feel good, you’ll be more inclined to focus on the external factors in your life that may bring you joy.
8. Make time for your resolutions
Another big reason why resolutions end early is because some of us don’t give them the attention they deserve. Just like a newborn baby, you need to nurture your dreams with love and dedication or they won’t grow up to be cool, jealousy-worthy goals. Not sure how to fit your resolutions into your busy schedule? Opt to work on them instead of watching TV when you get home, or brainstorm new ideas for your goals while you work on the dishes or do the laundry. Pro tip: Figure out where there are gaps in your schedule, add these times to your calendar, and fill it with dedicated time to work on your goals.
9. Celebrate small successes
It can feel daunting to go after your goals when you feel like it’s going to take forever to accomplish them. You may lose interest and leave before the party even begins. However, while most dreams don’t come true overnight, celebrating the small successes can help you focus and stay on track. It might feel weird at first to celebrate your first invoice submission or completing 10 meditative sessions in a row, but these little celebrations are a good way to not only keep you focused but also to make you feel good about yourself.
10. Begin to build a routine
Another great way to keep things on track is by incorporating your resolutions into your everyday routine. Depending on what your goals are, you can slide in your tasks in the morning when you first wake up or after work when you get home. By doing this, you’re allowing your brain to become familiar with this new task. Once you have your routine down, continue to do it for 30 days straight so it sticks.
11. Piggyback your resolutions with things you want to do
While there might be some things we need to check off our to-do list, that doesn’t mean that we actually want to do them. If you find yourself procrastinating on your goals, try to piggyback them with something that you actually like doing. For instance, if you like to take a bubble bath every night to calm down, but want to learn a new skill, try learning that new skill while you soak in the tub. This act will do a few things: It will prevent you from feeling guilty when you don’t complete something, and your task will simultaneously be linked to something you like and provide a feel-good emotion around it. You’re basically blackmailing your mind into wanting to do the task, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.
12. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go according to plan
It’s always exciting to begin the new year with a completely clean slate. You imagine what your “new life” will look like and create goals on how to achieve said life. However, when things go wrong, don’t beat yourself up. Throughout this year, you’re going to fail — and that’s completely okay! If you’re failing, that means you’re trying. Trying something new is the beginning of something great, and it would be completely unrealistic to believe that nothing would go wrong when you’re working on your resolutions. Remember: it’s how you handle the negative that allows you to see the positive. The beginning of your new adventure is the time to mess up, get creative, and think outside the box to figure out what works for you. You deserve to create the life you were destined for — now go out and get it.