How to Successfully Make and Keep New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions… It seems like everybody has a love/hate relationship with them. But they can be great if you try to make them great!

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Well, it’s that time of the year again. The time for all of us to reflect on our past year and aspire for a better, brighter future. Everyone is familiar with New Year’s resolutions, both the promise for change and the inevitable failure of said change.

But this year is different! With the catastrophic train wreck that was 2020, 2021 is bound to be even just a little bit better. As a firm believer in individual progress, New Year’s resolutions are the best yearly excuse to become a better person. This year, keep these helpful tips in mind to guarantee your success in making and keeping your 2021 New Year’s resolutions.

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Make Smaller, More Specific Goals

To keep a fantastic resolution, one must first make a fantastic resolution. Making attainable New Year’s resolutions can be half the battle. In years past, I have set goals like “save money” or “read more”. With my broad and ambiguous resolutions, my goals were not met that year.

In order to have successful resolutions, cutting off the fat and concentrating on specifics is key. Like the saying goes, “there is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time”. A lack of motivation and fatigue are undoubted attributes you’ll face when your elephant is the size of the sun. To shrink your elephant, break your resolution down into more specific, bite-sized steps. For example, if you plan on working towards a career shift in 2021, you could break your resolution down into the following:

  1. Look into community colleges.
  2. Apply to the college best suited for you.
  3. Set up an appointment with a counselor in order to know what program and classes are best for you.
  4. Look up and apply to classes.
  5. Study and ace your classes!
  6. Look for and apply for internships while going to school to start the career you want.

The more specific and numerous your steps, the more you set yourself up for success.

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Plan it Out

Hand in hand with smaller, more specific goals is creating a plan. To continue working towards a career shift in 2021 example, students can use a career coach in order to achieve success. In fact, the top jobs in 2021 that a career coach can help you transition towards are:

The key to successful New Year’s resolutions is attainability. Physically writing down your goals in places that you’ll see them often like your desk or phone screensaver will help remind you to keep at it. Planning your resolutions will help you achieve success.

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Set Reminders

Once you have made attainable resolutions and have a plan in place to keep them, setting reminders can help you take action. With New Year’s resolutions, it is easy to experience burn out because— well, they are yearlong commitments. I have found that when I make goals, I immediately set reminders to notify me of the goal, whether it’s through apps like Microsoft To-Do or Google Calendar (or both!).

For physical goals, like saving money, working out, or reading more, setting repeated reminders on your phone at specific, planned out times will help you stick to your resolutions. For more internal goals, like live life to the fullest or start a career change, setting reminders can become trickier, but not impossible. When planning out a week, you can set a reminder to take a spontaneous drive to a serene location or do something you haven’t ever done before. Setting reminders will definitely help you keep your New Year’s resolutions.

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Share Your Resolutions

Once you’ve created your attainable New Year’s resolution with plans and reminders, tell your family and friends about it. Having friends and family to hold you accountable is extremely helpful when preparing to tackle New Year’s resolutions. Sharing your success, like planning your future career with a career coach, will help others and give you satisfaction.

For example, if I told all of my friends that I was going to work out more and I shared with them my plans, they would remind me in conversation or join me in my endeavor. If I was going to start a career change and I told my family about it, then during family get-togethers they would excitedly ask about my progress and boost me towards my goal. Sharing your goals is an excellent way to keep them.

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Celebrate the Little Wins (and Loses)

The most important part of successful New Year’s resolutions is celebrating effort. According to Forbes, “less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days” and only 8% of people accomplish their New Year’s resolution. With those odds in mind, making monthly changes towards a better you isn’t something to never start or give up on. When faced with unsurpassable adversity, take a moment to celebrate your successes and failures.

This year was tough, especially for students. Failures could be that you needed to take an academic break to deal with the many-sided global stresses, struggled to learn because of the absence of a physical learning environment, or moved back home from college because of the shutdowns. Successes could be that you hunkered down and worked harder at school, your family learned to communicate more frequently with virtual meetings, or you took more time to reflect on yourself. Next year, successes and failures like these may happen, but celebrating all of them and knowing that they are all for your goodwill help you recommit to your resolutions.

Every little victory or defeat should be celebrated because it means that you actively tried. If you continue to try with your New Year’s resolution after January, you are already more successful than more than 75% of Earth’s other resolution-making humans. Try, try, try again; don’t give up and celebrate your efforts— good or bad!

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Nobody wants the repeat year of 2020. 2021 New Year’s resolutions are the perfect day one restart to set your year up for success. If you follow these tips and tricks to successfully make and keep your New Year’s resolutions, you will be set up to accomplish whatever it is you aspire to change. With 2020 nearly in the bag, make your 2021 bigger, brighter and better.

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