How Do You Stick To Your Resolutions?

To help start the new year, many people make resolutions of things they would like to achieve. Your resolution might be to lose weight, exercise more, read more books, or any number of other goals one might have.

But often, those goals are abandoned juts a few months, or even just weeks into the new year. The gym membership might go unused. Or the pile of books goes unread.

Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What is one thing you feel the need to do every day?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What is truth?’

How can we keep our motivation up, when our spirits start to sag? Once the cold and the dark of winter sets in, it can be very difficult to keep up with that dream you thought of back at the New Years Eve party.

Of course, not everyone make resolutions. And for those that do, not everyone gives up after some time has passed. But sticking to a schedule can be hard, when there might be a lot of obstacles, or temptations, that can get in the way of pursuing what you want.

Do you have any strategies for continuing with something, even when it is hard to do so? Is it simply a matter of willpower? How do you stick to your resolutions?

Related questions: Resolutions or no resolutions? How do you set priorities? What are you doing to improve yourself?

3 thoughts on “How Do You Stick To Your Resolutions?”

  1. I almost always have to turn a resolution into one that can be met by forming good habits. For example, to lose or maintain weight, I have to habitually do intermittent fasting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and put in some cardio work almost immediately after I get up each morning. To maintain good mental health, I find it helpful to write up an expression of gratitude each morning, I need to take my meds according to the daily schedule, keep myself hydrated throughout the day, exercise most days, and come up with positive routines if I even get an inkling that Anxiety is coming on (e.g., some quick yoga or other exercises that can be done at work, playing some music, etc.). Or, to read a certain number of books this year, I’m setting aside time at home and work for reading most days. For each of these areas and other resolutions I have not mentioned, I need to record that I’ve taken the step each day (or other habit-based, time increment) to build confidence for long-term success.

  2. There are three strategies I use when trying to stick to a goal of some sort — it doesn’t have to be just a New Year’s Resolution.

    1) Talk about doing your goal. Say it to your friends and your family, say it to yourself in the mirror, write it down. The more you talk or write about it, the more real it becomes. It becomes a tangible thing out in the world, instead of merely being some inner idea. This makes it harder to ignore if the weather is bad, or you are having a stressful day, or whatever the obstacle may be.

    2) If you can, do it with someone else. We humans are hard-wired to be social creatures, and oftentimes, fear of letting someone else down can be a stronger motivator than fear of neglecting yourself. Plus, you will have someone else to help cheer you up, encourage you when it is hard, and commiserate with over the struggle.

    3) Concentrate on the good that will eventually come. When there is an obstacle, that most common problem is that that problem is right there in front of you, while the benefit you hope to achieve is somewhere off in the distant future. It may help to have some concrete examples or ideas of what the good things are that you hope to achieve.

    For instance, let’s say your resolution is to lose weight, so you plan to eat better and exercise more. It might help to think about what, exactly, the benefits are to losing weight. Why do you want to do it, ultimately? Better health? Longer life? To look better in a bathing suit? To enjoy life more? These things may get you out of bed when it is early and dark and cold, and you’d rather just curl up under the covers.

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