When the countdown ends and the ball drops, it’s time to declare our resolutions for the new year. It’s a hopeful moment that, for most of us, unfortunately ends in some degree of failure. Maybe you didn’t stick to your imagined exercise regimen for more than a week, or maybe you didn’t put 10% of each paycheck into savings. We’ve all been there. So what is the secret to ensuring that our high hopes and goals for the coming year will hold true and that we don’t end up falling back into old habits? It turns out that it’s just as much about the type of new year’s resolution you make as it is your commitment to keeping it. Let’s dive into how to set New Year’s resolutions that stick.
Choose a resolution that’s significant to you
Set yourself up for success by picking a New Year’s resolution that is in line with your interests and goals. Too often, people pick a resolution that is trending or that their friends are doing, but that may not have a particular significance or meaning to them. Instead, choose a resolution that does resonate with you in order to set New Year’s resolutions that stick. For example, don’t resolve to do yoga every day when you’d much rather be swimming. Choosing a specific goal for your resolution is also a step in the right direction. “Save more money” is a common resolution, but it’s also a vague one. By tweaking a resolution and making it your own—say, “save money for a trip to Costa Rica in September”—you will be more motivated. Instead of “read more” or “exercise more,” commit to a more tangible resolution, like “read one book per month” or “sign up for a kickboxing class.”
Recognize hurdles you might face
This piece of advice is particularly true if your resolution is to break a bad habit, like quitting smoking or spending less time on social media. Think about when or why you continue these habits, and recognize potential triggers or cues. Once you’ve identified these, you can create a different response to those cues. For example, if you realize you tend to open social media apps when you finish sending an email or completing a work task, consciously commit to getting up for a glass of water or stretching instead when that happens. By preparing yourself for potential hurdles and recognizing what your habit cues are, you will be better equipped to change them and set New Year’s resolutions that stick. For more insights, we have a whole article on how to build new habits.
Make sure your resolution is feasible
Resolutions coincide with the start of a new year, which can sometimes seem quite abstract when you’re announcing your ambitions in front of friends and family at a party. But after the festivities, the new year is already upon us, so it’s important that you make a resolution that is possible in that context. For example, if your resolution is to double your time at the gym during the week, but your work and social schedules are already full for the month of January, it will be difficult to stick with your resolution for very long. It is more beneficial to evaluate what is actually feasible for you in terms of time and base your resolution on that. This will help you start off strong and motivate you to continue realizing your resolution.
Seek out support
There’s no rule that says a new year’s resolution has to be a solo journey. In fact, partnering up with a friend or coworker who shares a similar goal can be hugely beneficial to you both. Whether it’s learning a new skill or kicking a bad habit, having someone on board with you will help keep you motivated as well as hold you accountable to set New Year’s resolutions that stick. Having a friend support your resolution can also provide external encouragement when you may feel like giving up. Even if you have a personal resolution, you can still benefit from a support network. Tell people close to you what your goals are for the new year. This simple act will help make your resolution feel more real and make you more accountable, as friends will ask how your progress is going.
Happy New Year from the Skillpack team!
Whether you make a resolution or not, a new year is always a good opportunity for reflection and growth. But it’s not the only opportunity. Improvement—whether it’s personal or professional—is a year-round effort that we at SkillPack want to support, particularly for those who are self-employed. Our blog is full of advice on how freelancers can enhance their skills, improve their work practices, and strike a healthy work-life balance. Be sure to check it out.