Setting resolutions often feels like a pointless exercise — something we do at the beginning of each year only to forget about, or simply not follow, come February. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the practice feel more helpless. Why even attempt to set resolutions when you have no idea what will transpire in the coming months?
In a recent article for Harvard Business Review, Elizabeth Grace Saunders explains why setting intentions for the new year is still a good idea, and offers practical tips on how to make sure your resolutions actually stick.
So before you give up on making resolutions, consider these tips.
- Assess your willingness.
Choose resolutions that really matter to you and where you have a strong “why.” For example, maybe you want to lose weight because you want to have more energy. Having a compelling reason can give you the tenacity to stick with your resolutions when you feel tired, unmotivated, and just want to take the easy way out.
- Pick just one or two.
In general, resolutions are nice-to-have-in-the-short-term items. You won’t typically experience immediate consequences from not keeping them, but in the long term, your life will be better off for having reduced your spending, for example. It’s easier to remember and implement when you focus on one resolution or area.
- Commit to a specific action.
Choosing in advance what actions will align with your new year’s resolutions and when you will complete them makes it simpler for them to stick.
- Make it easy.
Think through how you can reduce all friction toward what you want to see in your life and increase friction for what choices you want to avoid.
- Track your progress.
In the swirl of life, it’s easy to lose commitment if you don’t track your progress. Decide on a place to write down the actions related to your resolutions and record what you do daily.
- Get support.
In your process of commitment to your resolutions over the course of 12 months, it’s easy for enthusiasm to wane. In those moments when you just don’t want to make the right choices, knowing that someone else is aware and will care can really help. You could recruit a friend, a colleague, a boss, a coach, a mentor, or anyone else who will consistently check in on you and give you the right kind of feedback: celebrating your commitment to the actions aligned with your resolutions.
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