If you’re like most people, you start every new year with a resolution to improve your life. From a wellness resolution to work off holiday calories, to a financial health resolution as a way of reducing your spending, it’s easy to get caught up in making promises.
Unfortunately, making promises is not the hard part. Keeping your resolutions is what’s difficult. And now that we’re halfway through the year, it’s tempting to toss our promises to the wayside and just try again next year.
If this describes you, you’re not alone! Here are our top tips to keep you on track with the help of momentum.
One way to stay on target is to keep yourself accountable with a calendar or journal. A written log can provide a place to mark milestones as you move towards your end goal. And a journal offers a private place to talk about your mental, physical, and financial progress as well as setbacks.
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Grab a buddy
Sometimes, our internal motivation isn’t enough to see a goal all the way through, and that’s okay! To increase your chances of success, you should grab a reliable friend, coworker, or family member to be your “accountability buddy.” A partner can provide a built-in support system–and since they’ll be counting on you, too, there’s added motivation to not let each other down.
It’s often helpful to pick someone working toward a similar goal, such as a coworker you can go to the gym with or a spouse that you can prep meals with on the weekends. But if that’s not possible, tap a friend who’s willing to set up a trade-off–you’ll remind them to track their spending if they take a new class with you.
One step at a time
One mistake that people make is structuring their goals as a to-do list. While almost everyone likes checking boxes to feel productive, adopting a mindset of “If I do twenty push-ups now, I’ll be one calorie closer to my goal” is a daunting way to view the world.
Instead, resolve to change your perspective. You’re not just trying to reach a goal; you’re trying to change your life. Take each day one step at a time and tackle each goal in due course. After all, you can’t lose thirty pounds overnight, but you can work out for thirty minutes today!
Take a breather
Working toward a new goal is hard work, whether you’re running off those pounds or learning a new career. Even if you’re not feeling stressed yet, it’s important to decompress to keep from burning out.
So even if you don’t feel like it, take twenty minutes after dinner for a stroll around the block. Get up an hour earlier to meditate in peace and quiet. Schedule a Saturday night to dance like no one’s watching. Do what you need to do to chug towards your goals without breaking down along the way.
Reevaluate your goals
If you find yourself reaching your goals early–or not at all–it’s possible you need to reevaluate. Meeting your goals is great, but if you reach them really easily, then that means there’s more you can do, so why not go for it? Alternatively, if you need to pivot to reach the finish line, there’s no need to take on unreasonable expectations.
Be willing to stay flexible. Move your milestones, add new steps, or change your goal outright. The purpose of setting a resolution isn’t to defeat yourself; it’s to empower yourself and be proud of your journey. Seek to make progress, not to attain perfection!
Change happens outside of your comfort zone
Have you pushed your resolutions aside because you’re scared, nervous, or just plain uninspired? It may be time to switch things up with a new burst of motivation.
Put fresh images in your mind to spark your excitement again. If you want to run a marathon in a year, pump yourself up with motivational YouTube videos before your next mile. If you’re saving up for a house, proudly tell your friends and family when you’ve met your down payment milestone. Use your support network to hold yourself accountable.
Change is scary, but there’s no success without some measure of hard work and sacrifice. After all, the greatest rewards come to those who go for it!
Reorganize your approach
We’re all human–which means that we all fall prey to human mistakes. When it comes to your resolutions, it’s easy to get sloppy with schedules, routines, and goals.
Forgot to track your spending this week? If you tell yourself you can put it off until tomorrow or the next week, a year will pass before you know it. Time flies, so it’s best to act now.
It’s natural to procrastinate, but it’s okay to give yourself time to get back on track. Spend a day reorganizing your schedule, planning your meals, or setting your budget. Reaffirm your commitment to your success. Sometimes, all it takes is a quick reset to get back on track.
Sprinkle in some fun
All work and no play makes it hard to be creative, productive, or fun. Besides, tackling your milestones should be a cause for celebration! When you hit your next mark, feel free to reward yourself–within reason.
If you met your budgeting goals, buy a small gift for yourself. If you finally fit into your favorite swimsuit again, treat yourself to a day at the pool. Reaching your goals is hard work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride.
Ready to take the next step?
Working toward your New Year’s resolution may not always be fun or easy, but meeting your goals is admirable (and for many, it’s enviable. Whether you make the journey alone or with a buddy, the trick is to take it one step at a time, give yourself room to breathe, grow as you go, and occasionally buy yourself a trinket or two.
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