Kickstarting 2022: How to stick to your New Year’s resolutions
At Oxbridge, we love to see people smash their goals, no matter how big or small; if you care about them, then so do we.
Whether you set a New Year’s resolution every year and have not yet finished the year with it still intact, or you’ve decided to give it a go for the first time this year, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success.
What are the most common New Year’s resolutions?
The three most common themes for New Year’s resolutions revolve around building a healthier lifestyle, getting a better grip on finances, and learning something new either for professional or personal reasons.
The top ten most popular resolutions are:
Becoming more organised
Learning a new hobby or skill
Living life to the fullest
Saving money or being more frugal
Spending more time with loved ones
How many new year’s resolutions fail?
Now, be warned, the following statistic may be surprising. Over half of New Year’s resolutions made every year aren’t completed. And one-third of them are usually broken before the end of January.
But you don’t have to become another statistic. With these ten tips, you can beat the odds and finish the year proudly declaring that you mastered your New Year’s resolution.
10 tips for keeping your New Year’s resolution
Make only one resolution
New Year’s resolutions like the ones mentioned above often involve changing or learning new behaviours, which is a really tough thing to accomplish. It takes approximately 26 days to create a habit and around six months for it to be ingrained in your personality.
Why make things even harder by taking on multiple resolutions? Choose the one that means the most to you, and focus on that for the next twelve months. You can also pick a new goal to focus on next year; it doesn’t have to be accomplished in 2022.
Be realistic with your goal
Many resolutions don’t make it past January because people set themselves up for failure. For example, if you resolve to go vegan, then cutting off all meat cold turkey, so to speak, isn’t going to go down well. Not only will it make things much harder than they need to be, but you’re also more likely to give up.
In this instance, your New Year’s resolution could be to become vegan by the end of the year and then spend the next twelve months slowly weaning yourself off meat and dairy products.
Break it down into smaller, manageable chunks
This goes nicely with the last point. Using the vegan analogy again, you could spend January having one meat-free day a week and then add an extra day a month until you hit July.
Then, when you’ve kicked meat, you can start to phase out dairy products through the same method. By the end of the year, you’ll not only have met your monthly goals, but you’ll also have smashed your resolution.
Make a detailed plan
Don’t rush to a resolution on New Year’s Eve. If you do that, you’re likely to choose something you don’t really care about, increasing your chances of giving up before the year is out.
Instead, make a detailed plan about why you’re setting this particular goal, what it means to you, how it will impact your life and how you’ll go about achieving it.
Don’t keep it to yourself
Find ways to make yourself accountable for your goal. One way is to tell people what your resolution is and ask them to keep checking in; it will increase your chances of success.
Remind yourself why you’re doing it
The best resolutions have a meaning behind them. Something that makes them worth doing. For example, reading more might be your resolution, but what will the impact be if you do or don’t succeed?
Perhaps you want to focus on books that will help you progress in your career, or you want to lose weight to improve your health; find an emotional connection to your resolution and use that to motivate you over the next twelve months.
Use a reward system
A year is a long time, especially if you’ve given something up or are trying to achieve something really challenging. So by rewarding yourself for your hard work and effort, you’ll be reinforcing your positive changes and have something to look forward to in the near future.
We recommend choosing a reward that will encourage you in the next month or set of months. For example, if you resolve to exercise more, perhaps you can reward yourself with a new fitness watch?
Don’t use the word ‘failure’ or ‘ruined’
No one’s perfect, and if you’re trying to break a habit that’s been built up over the years, it’s understandable to slip up from time to time. Work stress or personal troubles can easily tempt us to return to our old ways.
The problem is that once you ‘fail’ once, it’s very easy to talk yourself out of trying again. After all, you’ve already ‘ruined’ your New Year’s resolution, so you may as well give up and try again next year, right?
Don’t listen to those thoughts. Instead, accept that you’ve slipped up, remind yourself that you’re human, be kind to yourself and start the next day fresh.
Be honest when it’s hard
Sometimes, the longer you give something up, like smoking, it gets a lot harder before it gets easier. This is the time to lean on your support network, be open and honest about your struggles and let them be your encouragement. No rule says you have to struggle alone.
Celebrate at the end of the year
When December 2022 comes to a close, celebrate! You’ve done it! You’ve beaten the statistics and nailed the New Year’s resolution. So take some time to be proud of yourself and revel in your success.
If New Year’s resolutions were easy, everybody would succeed. But these tips can help you beat the odds and finish the year strongly. We’re all rooting for you here at Oxbridge.