How to stick to your new year’s resolutions

The importance of implementing habit-forming skills

Resolutions can be difficult to keep up with.

We’re a week into the winter semester and—I imagine—we’re all struggling to stick to our new year’s resolutions. It’s difficult to fit new habits into an already packed schedule.

How do you start working out when the ARC is a freezing, 15-minute walk away? How do you start a new skin care routine when you have 10 minutes to get ready every day? Sometimes, it doesn’t feel worth the extra effort.

Look no further for the answers: I have three pieces of advice to help you stick to your resolutions.

Look to the future

When you feel your motivation waning and want to give up, take a minute to reflect on why you made this resolution in the first place, and then look towards your goal.

Imagine yourself achieving it. Think about when the hard part is over; think of how your future self would be happier, healthier, or whatever else you’re looking for. Through this visual manifestation, you can capture a fraction of the feeling you’re looking for—and doesn’t it feel good?

Right now might suck. Working out, waking up early, or making any other big change is a difficult part of the transitional process. Fortunately, all hard things have an end, and in a few months or a year, the hard part will be over and that new habit you’re trying to build will be something you do as mindlessly as brushing your teeth.

Find ways to stay accountable

There’s nothing more motivating than external pressure. When you feel your will failing, having some sort of outside influence is a great way to fight through the most difficult resolutions. 

It’s hard to push yourself, so have someone or something stand behind you to make sure you keep treading forward. 

The best way to stay accountable is to add a friend into the mix. Depending on your resolution, doing this might take many forms. Let’s say you want to go to the gym more. Get a gym partner so you’ll actually go because you made a commitment to someone you care about.

On top of that, misery loves company, and company makes misery go away. A difficult task can become a fun one with the right person. Having someone work through your resolution with you can turn it from a chore to genuinely fun.

Just do it

The hardest part of doing anything is getting started. The more complex, difficult, or new the task, the more daunting getting started can seem.

People get caught up in planning and perfection, making sure they don’t look foolish trying something new. If you plan too much, though, you get stuck in the weeds of indecision and anticipation, every negative feeling grows, and, before you know it, it’s the end of the year and you’re still trying to start that one goal.

Don’t worry about planning—just do it. At the end of the day, it’s okay to look a little ridiculous and jump right into something new. No one is perfect at something the first time. And, chances are, no one is looking at you anyway.


So, if your new year’s resolutions feel a little too daunting, close your eyes, think about the future you, and get going.

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