Every year you make outlandish promises to yourself at the New Year, and every year you’ve abandoned them all by February, probably because you put too much pressure on yourself and demanded too much too soon. This year, there was a huge crop of articles encouraging people to stop making resolutions at all. However, resolutions are a great way to harness the forward momentum of a new year or a new period in your life; a promise to yourself can be a great motivator, and keeping promises you make to yourself feels empowering. If you ask more reasonable things of yourself and ease into bigger changes, you’re much more likely to succeed in the long run.
The biggest mistake people make is that they choose unreasonable goals, trying to change their personality or habits in unrealistic ways. Choose instead things that can reasonably fit into your life as it is. That is, if you’re someone who doesn’t like to get up early and the only time you could fit an hour long jog in is first thing in the morning, making a resolution to add an hour long jog to your days will be hard to keep. That does not, however, mean you can’t exercise more. It’s easy to add in a 10- or 20-minute walk to your day without going too far out of your way. You can do office yoga and mini meditations in your cubicle. Be smart about your resolutions and you can make life changes without even noticing you’re changing.
There are lots of ‘typical resolutions’ that you can adjust to fit your life and schedule. That said, if you sign up and pay for a class, you’re more likely to follow through with it than if you just write it on a list.
Be honest with yourself about what you can handle; accept baby steps. Don’t tell yourself you’ll be a professional guitar player by the end of the year if you can’t play a note write now, just challenge yourself to learn some basic chords or how to play one song. Getting started often snowballs into more if you’re enjoying yourself! Saving money or eating healthier can be done in little steps too. Let’s say you decide that one day a week, instead of buying a burger, you’ll buy a salad. You’re not going vegan tomorrow, just committing to one salad a week.
Little things build up. Even baby steps will help you to cover the distance eventually. Be reasonable about your resolutions but do make them – pushing yourself to be better and succeeding will make you happier and more confident in the long run.