Have you ever noticed the gym parking lot fills up the week after New Year’s, but by the end of the month it returns to normal? People have a habit of making goals but have trouble following through. Here’s how to hold yourself to your 2015 aspirations.
1. Make a list.
Every time you notice something about yourself that bothers you, don’t just tell yourself you’ll try to change it—start the change right away. Make a list of things you want to change and add what you’re going to do to get there.
2. Set a schedule.
Want to shed a few pounds? Join a gym right away. Set a schedule for yourself to work out two or three times a week. Having a routine instead of “winging it” is a much better bet in terms of motivating yourself to do the things you need to do.
3. Join a group.
When trying to get through a tough workout or break a bad habit, it helps to have a friend or two by your side. Having people to encourage you and suffer along with you is all the more motivating.
4. Let others help.
If you’re living with a roommate or spouse, tell them your goals. Oftentimes, we are so accustomed to our ways we do things without even realizing. For example, “I’m trying to drink less coffee this year.” This way, if they catch you with your third cup of the day, they can remind you of your resolution to keep you in check.
5. Take it slowly.
Some people quickly assume that drastic changes are the best fix to problems. But often, it is only temporary. People who are trying to lose weight sometimes try to skip meals in order to reach their weight goal, but that only makes them hungrier later, so when they finally do eat, they will most likely eat more than usual. Don’t cut your calorie intake from 3,000 to 1,000. Try 3,000 the first day, then 2,500, and so on.
6. Accept setbacks.
Research shows it takes 21 times of doing something to make a habit. Chances are, the first 21 times you try to change something, you won’t get it exactly right every time. Accidentally eating that extra Reese’s or drinking that extra cup of coffee won’t kill you. There are going to be days where you don’t meet your goals—humans make mistakes. But that’s OK. Don’t let it deter you from the bigger picture.
7. Be proud of your accomplishments.
Improving yourself is a great ambition, but it is also one of the hardest things to do. As humans, we are so set in our ways, daily routines, and habits, that changing something we do every day can seem bothersome and out of character. Every accomplishment, even a small one—like getting yourself to the gym—is a step in the right direction. Celebrate the little things. They will add up.