How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 47 seconds

Three tips for keeping a New Year’s resolution or promise to yourself.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? Maybe you made one of these popular 2017 resolutions (according to Google):

1.    “Get Healthy”
2.    “Get Organized”
3.    “Live Life to the Fullest”
4.    “Learn New Hobbies”
5.    “Spend Less/Save More

If you did make a resolution, chances are you already broke it.

The consolation? You’re not the only one!

Why is it so difficult to keep a New Year’s resolution?

One reason we fail at resolutions is that we resolve to make too big a change.

With that new year/fresh start mindset, people mistakenly believe that a resolution must involve a momentous change (which is the most difficult to accomplish).

Another reason is that we don’t have the emotional leverage needed to survive the transition.

The good news is that it’s never too late to start again. And this time, to keep your promise.

How to Keep a New Year’s Promise

Ready to start again and succeed this time? Here are three tips:

Be the Tortoise, Not the Turkey

Except for significant addictions, cold turkey is not the way to succeed.

Making change gradually is less of a shock, plus it allows your brain to physically change its pathways.

Gradual change also lets you make mistakes and still move toward your goal. When you aim for all-or-nothing, you leave yourself little room for learning how to change.

2-How Do You Eat an Elephant? One Bite at a Time.

Break your oversized goal into easily-accomplished chunks: this quarter, this month, this week, today. Then celebrate accomplishing each of these small goals.

Breaking your elephant into small bites lowers the bar as well as the intimidation factor.

And celebrating small wins gives you positive reinforcement to help you keep on track.

3-Why, Oh Why?

Ask yourself why you want to make the change, and then find a tangible object to symbolize that reason.

I call them touchstones, and they can be as simple as a penny or as complex as a collage. Whatever helps remind you of your emotional commitment to your chosen promise.