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How to make your New Year's resolutions stick

By Brooke Villanueva Published Jan 06, 2021 10:48 pm

What were the New Year’s resolutions you made for 2021? 

Be it eating healthy or saving money, forming good habits and banishing the bad ones may take a lot of time and effort. “A new behavior won’t become automatic overnight,” according to Harvard Health Publishing, “but you may enjoy some of its benefits fairly quickly.”

It’s the seventh day of 2021—have you been able to stick to your new practices? If yes, congratulations. But if you’ve been having a hard time with it, read on for some tips that may help you to keep going or even recreate a fresh start for yourself. 

As stated in a Forbes article, “the goal-setting secret that every entrepreneur knows is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.” After getting specific on what a certain objective means to you and how much you’re interested in it, make it measurable by knowing when and how often you’re going to do it. Ask yourself: should it be accomplished once a day, once a week, or once a month? Ensure that it’s achievable, too. Be realistic as you measure your capabilities of making it possible. Figuring out its relevance in your life “makes it much more likely that you’ll keep working towards it, even in times of difficulty.” T stands for time-bound, which includes “breaking your goal into smaller monthly or weekly sprints.” With consistency, you can increase your chances of meeting your target on time.

Another method you can follow is the “wish, outcome, obstacles, and plan (WOOP)” framework, which CNN International described as “beginning with a wish and imagining a positive outcome that could emerge from achieving that goal. Then you identify any obstacles hindering you before devising a plan to navigate around them.”

Additionally, you can also go for “approach goals” like “I want to start cycling” instead of “avoid goals” like “I want to quit eating ice cream” in order to face it with a positive attitude. Doing so, CNN International shared, can up your chances of success.

Piggybacking means “stacking an activity you’d like to start after a routine habit.” To explain it further, CNN International shared a research that has demonstrated its effectiveness. “Many people brush their teeth every day, but fewer people floss. So British scientists designed a study in which one group of people was told to floss before brushing, and another after brushing,” it read. “Eight months later, those who trained to floss after brushing had a stronger habit than the other group.”

Let’s be real: it’s difficult to stay on track with your New Year's resolutions. The best way to deal with such moments—also known as the "Abstinence Violation Effect" that can make you want to give up after failing to stick to your aim—is to have cheat days. “Rather than trying to meditate every day, your goal could be to meditate five out of seven days per week," the report added.

After all, making good habits that last entails determination to bounce back from failure and learn from your mistakes as you try to bring out a better version of yourself. Just trust the process, no matter how challenging and discouraging it can be.