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5 healthy ways to stick to your New Year’s resolution

These suggestions may help you hang in there

It never fails. New Year’s resolutions are joyfully made and filled with hope. Each year, millions of people vow to change their lives. And every year, promises are made to stick to them.

Social media is filled with the phrase “I promise to,” and people enthusiastically create lists. Many of them mirror this:

“I will exercise more.”

“I will go to church more.”

“I will save more money.”

“I will eat better.”

“I will lose weight.”

“I will stop procrastinating.”

“I will spend more time with my loved ones,” etc.

Oftentimes, by March, many find themselves back to the same old habits, not getting through half of their resolution list.

Making these declarations is the easiest part. Sticking to them is the most difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Once you’ve determined your resolutions are absolutely achievable, you can take the steps to develop a plan that will allow you to complete them.

Below are five undefeated ways to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.

5. Write a list, then track your progress daily in a journal

First, invest in a journal. A lot of people are not into journaling. And that’s totally fine. But this is different. In your nice journal, mark the date and write down those things you’d like to do for the new year. Set a weekly reminder in your phone to visit that journal and write down the progress. Then mark things off as you go. For things ongoing, place a check mark. For example, if you’d like to reach out to loved ones more, put an alert on your phone for every Friday to call someone you love. Then go back to your journal that same day and write the name of the person you called. It works!

4. Make mental resolutions instead of physical resolutions

Clear your mind of all distractions by mentally doing a mind dump. Then each day think about what it takes to attain happiness within. Think positively. One way to do this is by developing positive affirmations that are specific to your life or well-being. These should be positive statements that undermine any negativity. One affirmation to start with is one of forgiveness. Forgive yourself and others to start out the new year. “I forgive those who have harmed me, myself for causing any harm, and I release myself of negative energy.” Check out these 70 affirmations to help you stay positive, focused and motived.

3. Use a calendar or app

Whether you use a traditional calendar, your phone calendar or a special app, it’s a good practice to put your resolutions on a calendar. If you put your items on a calendar as opposed to writing a list, it’s not so overwhelming. Breaking them out over a period of time helps you track your progress, gives you time to form habits and allows you to tweak your resolution if you find yourself slacking. For example, if you’ve set a resolution to go to your gym twice a week, put it on a calendar and set a time. If you’ve set your day for every Monday and Wednesday and you find yourself not going, you can switch those days really quick on your calendar. A calendar or app also helps you to set goals gradually and take one step at a time. You can even develop a six-resolution plan and put them on a calendar every month for the next six months. As you work toward each resolution, you are developing a habit-forming system.

2. Develop a buddy system

Don’t go at it alone. Find a person you respect and trust. Share your resolutions with that person and attempt to keep each other focused. Support and accountability helps.

1. Don’t make resolutions at all, set short-term goals instead

Listen. Nobody will be mad if you don’t have or make resolutions for yourself. It takes the pressure off. Try goal-setting as opposed to making resolutions. If you’d like to be more productive, set a six-month goal and create steps to reach the goal.

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.