By: Jessica Ekstrom, Guest Blogger
It’s that time of the year again: a new number at the end of the date, a new beginning, and new resolutions.
It’s healthy to take the time to reflect and find areas of improvement in your life, but what’s the point of trying to fix something if you can’t even remember what your resolution was by the time summer comes around?
Here are some tips to help your resolutions stick:
1. Be realistic.
Don’t choose a resolution that’s nearly impossible. There’s a difference between challenging yourself and forcing yourself to throw in the towel after only 2 weeks of trying. If you just graduated and have an entry-level job at a company, don’t say you’re going to be CEO by the end of the year. Instead, choose a work-goal that’s more realistic, like becoming head of your department. I’m not saying you won’t be CEO one day, but it’s more effective to be realistic with your goals and take it one step at a time.
2. Break it down into increments.
Instead of saying you want to lose 30 lbs. by the end of the year, break it into smaller goals by month or week. For example, January you can aim to lose 5 lbs. February your goal might be 3 lbs. It makes it easier to track your progress when dealing with smaller timeframes. This style can be incorporated into other resolutions like getting into grad school. Instead of just having one large goal of going to grad school, break it down into phases. How many schools will you apply to per week? Maybe you need to save money for it. Put $5 into a jar every day or $20 every week. It’s up to you how you break it down, but it’s better to create a smaller plan of action with lots of little goals rather than one large goal at the end of the year.
3. Reward yourself.
No matter what your goal is, staying on track can be hard for anyone. Intrinsic motivation can fade, and that’s okay. If your goal is to write in your journal once a day, reward yourself at the end of the month. Maybe it’s that pair of boots you’ve been eyeing or a weekend beach trip with the girls. Regardless of what your goal is, it’s important to have something tangible to work towards. You deserve it!
4. Write it down.
It’s one thing to have a goal in your head and it’s another to have it on a post-it note beside your bed. Mine will say, “phone OFF by 8:00 pm!” If you can visibly see your own handwriting someplace you’ll see it frequently (like your bathroom mirror), your resolution becomes more “real” than just a thought in your head.
5. Pick a resolution that will make you better.
Giving up chocolate won’t solve all your problems. Your morning coffee with cream and sugar isn’t a crime. Watching Netflix in the evening instead of sorting your laundry isn’t the end of the world. In fact, giving up these little luxuries isn’t making you any better. It’s important to let yourself indulge in what you love. If you eliminated chocolate cold turkey, you’ll most likely indulge in something else that’s less satisfying when you get that craving. Instead of giving up things that you love, pick a resolution that’s more constructive. Or maybe don’t pick a resolution that tells you to do something less. Instead, pick a resolution to do something more. For example, one of my resolutions is to swim more. I’m going to structure it by making sure I swim laps three times a month. Maybe your resolution is to call your grandparents more? Or shop locally? It doesn’t sound like much, but vowing to do something more, even if it’s once a month, can make a big difference.
Jess Ekstrom is the 22-year-old founder of Headbands of Hope and Headwear of Hope. Both companies give head products to kids with cancer with every purchase. Jess is also a public speaker at speaker at CAMPUSPEAK. Check out Headbands of Hope on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@headbandsofhope) and Youtube.
Featured image via HappyTownUSA.etsy.com