Whether you are an online business degree seeking student, a full-time worker, or a busy mother juggling a jam-packed calendar of family events; staying on track to fulfill a personal goal can be a struggle. Here are five tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolution:
1. Make it Personal
A New Year’s resolution that connects to a personal value is much more likely to stick. For example, a popular New Year's resolution is to lose weight. Knowing the major health benefits achieving this goal (such as better heart health) helps. Even better is having a personal reason (a poor medical family history of heart disease, for example). When times get tough, it helps to have this reasoning for motivation.
2. Build New Habits into your Existing Schedule
Resolutions that require a major schedule change, such as waking up early, are less likely to be achieved. Instead, think about how a New Year's resolution could fit into your already existing schedule. Many times this process starts with taking an honest look at current habits. For many people, it’s an eye-opening experience to see how they spend their time in a given week. Give it a shot. John Carroll University has set up a free online version of this type of activity log.
3. Know Where you Stand
Having a goal is great, but it’s a pointless if the goal is never revisited. Track your progress, either on your own or through this tool provided by Washington State University. If it’s easier, there are even iPhone® apps for keeping on track. Start with an honest assessment of where things stand, and look to improve each week. Then, set a consistent time each week for a progress checkup. (The start of each Monday morning work well.)
4. Make Adjustments
As The New York Times article, “Will Your Resolutions Last Until February?” points out, many New Year’s resolutions don’t last more than a month or two. The breaking point for many New Year's resolutions comes from a lack of progress. Realize a goal worth achieving will take time, and react to a lack of progress by trying a different approach. The key is to think long term. The goal is to develop a habit that will stick long-term, so it’s worth the wait to figure out how to make it realistic. Everyone experiences setbacks in life. React by making adjustments to meet the goal the following week instead of giving up the goal completely. Understanding reasons for failure ultimately leads to a higher likelihood of reaching the goal, so it’s not entirely a bad thing.
5. Share your Experience
Many New Year’s resolutions work better if two friends are working to achieve the same goal because it increases the accountability on both ends. Having others to celebrate your progress, offer encouragement during frustrating times, and ultimately share in the achievement of the Resolution is invaluable. Having others support you when struggling with a goal is only half the story, though, and even those going solo on their goals can choose to share their progress online.