How to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Stick

new years resolutions 2016

We all know the struggle – entering the New Year with a mind full of new ideas and determination to stick to our resolutions, and then letting it all go again by the time mid-January rolls around. Our inability to actually stick to our goals can bring about much stress, anxiety, and disappointment in ourselves. But perhaps the reason we never seem to stick to our New Year’s resolutions is because we’re setting the bar too high, and establishing goals that are extremely difficult to achieve. Here are a few essential ways that you can actually make your New Year’s resolutions stick this year.

Set Realistic Goals

As mentioned before, it’s important to set goals that are realistic and concrete. And by “realistic,” I mean goals that you are likely to stick to. For example, a resolution like “eat better” or “lose weight” is nebulous and unlikely to stick. At the other end of the spectrum, resolving to exercise six hours a day and eat nothing but broccoli is concrete, but unrealistic and unsustainable. Set concrete but realistic expectations: go for a fifteen minute walk every day. Drink one less soft drink daily. Focus on small, attainable, and sustainable goals, and not only will they stick past mid-January, but they are more likely to become permanent parts of your routine.

Take It One Step At a Time

According to many psychologists, it takes approximately 21 days to break a habit completely. So it’s important when working on your New Year’s resolutions, to start small, and take it one step at a time. Work on changing one thing in your life at a time, because trying to break a dozen different habits at once will only bring about unnecessary stress. Stick with it for three solid weeks and you’d be surprised how routine it becomes.

Accept The Support of Loved Ones

If you’ve set yourself New Year’s resolutions that you know will be incredibly difficult, then make sure you have a support network of close family and friends that you can turn to when you need help. Stopping smoking is one of the hardest things to do in life, so make sure your network of supporters is aware of the difficult task at hand. If you feel slightly overwhelmed, perhaps seeking the help of a professional is a wise idea. Talk with your doctor to develop a smoking cessation plan together, or schedule an appointment with a therapist in Ottawa to discuss constructive ways to break the habit and alter the patterns of behaviour that lead you down this road.

Don’t Guilt Trip Yourself

It’s difficult to change habits in your life and stick to new goals, so don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. If you mess up your diet by eating a piece of chocolate, don’t give the entire resolution up! The same goes for if you miss the gym for a couple of weeks due to a busy schedule. Nobody is perfect, and it takes a while to get used to changes in life. So stick at it, and don’t guilt trip yourself. Remember that you are still moving in a healthy direction even if you slip.