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How to Make a New Year’s Resolution - and Actually Stick To It!

by Mohsina Alam

The slow in-between period as we head towards the end of the year always gives us time to reflect. Time to reflect on the goals we made the previous year, the progress we’ve made, the setbacks we’ve faced. 

Did you make resolutions that didn’t last this in 2023? Want to avoid the same thing happening in the new year? Keep reading, here’s how to make a New Year’s Resolution that you can actually stick to:

Habit Stack

An easy way to start new habits is by incorporating them into your current routine. If you’re wanting a glow up in 2024 and have resolutions like using your Gua Sha regularly, do it while you have your morning shower. If you want to listen to more podcasts, stick them on while you’re cooking a meal. Keen to jump on the rosemary oil trend, stick it in before you tie up your hair for the gym - you’ll be washing your hair after anyway. It seems simple, but adding them to something you already do makes it less forgettable and time consuming. 

Keep it Realistic

It’s unlikely you’re able to entirely change yourself, so why are you setting so many restrictions and resolutions you can’t keep count? 

Social media culture has taught us that a New Year marks a ‘New You’. This is problematic for several reasons, but, perhaps most importantly, because it suggests that we as individuals need a radical overhaul to become ‘better people’. We don’t. You, as you are, are not a problem that needs to be solved.

Making New Year’s Resolutions should be about adopting practices that will help us grow and fulfil our potential - not fundamentally changing who we are. Think carefully about how you want to feel by the end of 2024, and what practices will help you get there. Setting yourself endless resolutions will make you feel overwhelmed, and you’ll end up keeping none of them, so instead try to prioritise a few attainable goals that feel most important to you.

Be Specific

One of the main reasons why we reach the end of the year and feel like we haven’t made much progress is that the resolutions you set were too vague to begin with. 

For example, making a resolution to simply ‘eat healthier’ is unhelpful because it doesn’t account for HOW you will do this - making it much easier to forget the resolution altogether.

Being specific when writing your resolutions will make holding yourself accountable and maintaining your goal in the long-term a lot more simple. If your goal is to eat healthier in 2024, define how exactly you will do this. Will you aim to have a piece of fruit with your breakfast everyday? Perhaps you will cut back on takeaways to once a month instead of once a week.

The more specific you can get with your resolution, the more likely you are to implement it as a lasting practice in your life. Consider how you’ll get there rather than having tunnel vision towards an end goal. 

Break It Down

Increase your likely of success by breaking big goals down into smaller milestones. Resolutions such as ‘I will run a 10k this year’, while aspirational, can be daunting if you’re someone who doesn’t run regularly. 

Planning out how you can implement your resolution in stages will give you a much better chance at success. This is because you will be practising your goal consistently, rather than going hard at the start of the year just to burn out by February.

Returning to the running example, make smaller aims you can timestamp throughout the year such as confidently running 1k by the end of January. By March you will be regularly running 2k, by June you will build this up to 5k, and so on. Expecting yourself to achieve your resolution on the first go is a recipe for failure - take your time.

Allow Yourself To Fail

Sometimes we plan, we prepare, we set the alarms, and when the day comes, we just can’t do it. Life gets in the way here and there, and we can’t always control it. If you find that you’re lagging behind on a resolution, don’t get down on yourself - and definitely don’t use it as an excuse to abandon the resolution entirely.

Allow yourself the time and space to fail, and try again when you feel ready. Remind yourself that being willing to try is incredibly brave, and that any progress is better than no progress at all.

Edited by Emily Duff

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