Many of us made New Year’s resolutions last week. Yet in past years, how many of us have actually worked at them for the duration of the entire year? Perhaps that isn’t realistic. But would it be completely unreasonable to set a goal of maintaining our New Year’s resolutions for at least six months? No, we don’t think it’s unreasonable either. In fact, we think it would be all the more rewarding to keep working towards those goals even as the weather turns from frigid to mild.
But how exactly does one go about keeping those resolutions on our minds as we return to our busy lives after the holidays? Here are some stellar tips for you that should work if applied properly — no matter if your resolution is to exercise more or cut out a bad habit.
1) Do It With Someone Else
This tip is self-explanatory. One of the easiest ways to reach a goal is to work at it alongside a friend who shares the same resolution. This works especially well with fitness goals. It’s easy to give up training for a marathon if nobody is watching you quit running because of the pain. Struggling is always easier with someone else, plus it will be fulfilling after the fact when you both remember how you supported and motivated each other during the tough times.
2) Be Accountable
While thinking up your resolutions is the first step, the work hasn’t even begun. How do you ensure you follow through with working towards your goal? If you aren’t going to employ the buddy system, you need another way to hold yourself accountable. Tell your spouse about your resolution, or a close friend. After all, research has shown that people who verbally share their goals and/or post weekly social media updates on their progress as “33 percent more successful in accomplishing them than those who don’t” (CoastalVirginiaMag). If you’re a more private person, try using an anonymous smartphone app to track your progress. For instance if you have set fitness goals, My Fitness Pal allows you to connect with communities of people who share the same goals as you.
3) Write It Down
For some people, all it requires is for them to write something down; if it’s on their to-do list, then it will get done. The problem is that New Year’s resolutions are not typically simple goals you can cross off at the end of the day. Instead of a to-do list, use a daily journal to track your progress. Even if you don’t have the time to write every day, simply recording your progress at the end of each week would be enough. This way you can make notes as to where you’ve improved, and what areas you still need work in. Try to be consistent with your journal recording in the beginning, and you’ll easily get into the habit of it.
4) Visualize It
For others, writing something down doesn’t help get them motivated — but visualizing it (literally) could make all the difference. An article from International Business Times suggests creating a ‘vision board’ in order to achieve your New Year’s resolution. Essentially it is a collage or compilation from photographs and magazines of pictures, quotes, or anything that constitutes where you visualize yourself once you’ve achieved your goals for the year. Get as creative and make it as pretty as you like, since this is something that you should be looking at every day. So put it in a prominent spot, like on your bedroom door! Here are some great examples from Pinterest here.
5) Reward Yourself
It’s all well and good to set a New Year’s resolution, but it helps get you motivated to know there is a reward at the finish line (and mini rewards along the way). An incentive like a reward could make you work faster and harder towards your goal as well. However if your goal is fitness related, try to avoid rewarding yourself with food as this will counteract your progress. Treat yourself to a vacation getaway instead.
Dr. Mike Malone and his team practice expert cosmetic dentistry in Lafayette, LA. Dr. Malone is the former president and current accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also the official Cosmetic Dentist of the Miss Louisiana USA and Miss Louisiana Teen USA pageants. Check out his website for more information.
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