New Year’s resolutions that flicker and fade, then float off into the ether like a blown-out candle just a month or two into the year? Been there, done that. Still, there’s something about resolutions—vowing to make a positive change—that draws us in year after year. Luckily, we’ve got lots of Fresh American staff members who know how to make New Year’s resolutions that stick, so we compiled their advice into these handy tips for success.
1. Make your goals realistic and definable. Aim too high—for instance, “I’m going to lose 30 pounds in a month!”—and you’ll wind up feeling frustrated and defeated if you can’t reach your target. Likewise, don’t be too free-floating: “I’m going to lose weight!” Instead, resolve to lose those pounds with actionable steps like cutting back on snacks, trying three new healthful recipes each week, or exercising every two days. Monica, our VP of creative, says, “The key for me is making a resolution that I want to do and that is easily attainable. Losing 20 pounds is too nebulous for me.” Instead, she made a promise to herself to go to yoga class once a week, and now, several years later, she’s still doing it (and has even added extra fitness classes).
2. Write it down. Look critically at the calendar and determine a reasonable time for you to achieve your goal, and put it down on paper. Remember step 1 when formulating your plan. Deciding to make a job change over the course of six months is attainable; doing it in six weeks is a recipe for major disappointment. If any of your goals require regular actions—for example, sending out two resumes per week—keep track of them on a calendar or your favorite app, and revisit it periodically to assess your progress. If the schedule you initially set up isn’t working, change it! There’s no shame in finding a better or more efficient way to achieve your goals.
3. Find ways to relax every day. Stress wreaks havoc on the mind (not to mention the body and immune system), and you’re much less likely to stick to your goals when you’re feeling overwhelmed or upset. Annie’s favorite way to reconnect with herself is to take a walk or play outside with her dogs, but you can also try yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, or relaxing in the tub with some quiet music. The key is to keep it simple and forget about multitasking. Check the cell phone, computer or tablet, and to-do list at the door, and give yourself the gift of 20 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time.
4. Ask for help. You probably won’t get rich just by cutting back on shoe purchases, so why not visit a financial planner to help you carve out a path toward increasing your financial security? Or if you want to break an old habit, enlist the help of a friend who’s done something similar and can offer advice when your resolve isn’t at its strongest. Kate, our Pine Cone Hill Outlet store manager, explains, “I was just telling a friend that I have started a resolution to stop putting lipstick on while driving. I’m trying to take a minute to put it on while in the house or before I start moving in the car. I don’t want to be a distracted driver and have been inspired by Toyota and Teen Vogue’s campaign on this.”
Bottom line: having a partner or someone you “report” to helps you to be more accountable, and gives you someone to bounce ideas off of or turn to for support during tough times. Trust us: it makes the challenging process of changing a long-held habit a whole lot more enjoyable.
5. Remember that setbacks can (and probably will) happen. Nobody’s perfect, and life is much more interesting because of it. When you make a mistake—forgetting a workout, not finishing repainting the kids’ rooms in a single weekend—take a few deep breaths, be compassionate with yourself, and realize that temporary setbacks are part of the process of moving forward. Keep it in perspective, and you’ll quickly get past any bumps in the road.
6. Give yourself a big pat on the back for a job well done. Every three to four months, check in on your progress. If you can see any sort of forward movement, reward yourself with a small treat like movie night with the girls, an extra hour in bed on a weekend, or a lunchtime mani-pedi. Lisa, one of our customer service reps, says, “Two years ago I made a resolution to put a dollar a day away, every day, for the whole year, in a small bank in my drawer. I did it, and it was pretty awesome on New Year’s Eve when I counted it all up!” The lesson? Achieving a goal is powerful stuff, so celebrate your success!
Now it’s your turn: tell us in the comments your favorite tips for planning New Year’s resolutions. Or tell us about your favorite resolution that you were able to keep!