5 Tips for Making and Keeping New Year’s Resolutions
By Michelle Mojisola Savage
Anyone can make a resolution. It is an act of determination to achieve a specific goal. But not everyone can keep it. For many people, the new year is the preferred time for setting these resolutions because it gives them an opportunity for a fresh start. It is a time to reflect on the past year and decide habits worth keeping or losing and goals to be pursued.
If you are among the elite individuals who stick to their new year’s resolutions and achieve them, congratulations! However, if you discard them in the third week of January and live with the guilt till the end of February, you are not alone.
Almost 80% of survey participants who made new year’s resolutions in 2021 did not keep them. Should this statistic discourage you? No! Perhaps, the reason for this result is the approach to setting and keeping them. Here are some simple actions you can incorporate into your next resolution to make them more attainable.
1. Review the past year: Did you achieve your goals? How and why? What were your motivations and obstacles? What were your strengths and weaknesses? The answers to these questions can guide you into making your new year resolution. Most times, new year resolutions are connected to the mistakes of past years. Learn from them. Identify the reasons for your wins and failures and let them guide you towards success.
2. Set small achievable goals: This is the key to avoiding disappointments. Divide your goals into small steps that can be incorporated into your daily life. For example, if you want your book published in the year, don’t just write “publish a book” when you don’t even have the book. Instead, break the goal down into steps. A sentence here and a sentence there makes a chapter. If you set a goal of writing at least one chapter per week, the small victories will spur you to do more.
3. Reward yourself: This is perhaps the best stimulant. Create a reward system that ties the things you enjoy the most to your goals. Every achievement rewarded will create a positive feeling that will make the goal worth pursuing.
4. Don’t be discouraged: Did you fall off the ladder in the first week? Don’t worry. There are many more weeks to make amends. Get back on that ladder! Do not let failures define your journey. Instead, let them inspire you. Identify the reasons for the setbacks and adjust your strategies so as not to repeat them.
5. Measure and review your progress: Without monitoring your progress from time to time, how will you know how far you have gone? According to Jerry Bruckner, “Once you know your goals, you should measure your progress to achieve them. Seeing your favorable progress will serve as positive reinforcement to continue your hard work, and seeing negative progress will alert you to something you should change to get you back on track.”
Michelle Mojisola Savage
is a writer and Engineering
student at the University of
Lagos. Her interests include
playing the guitar, strong
political arguments and
talking to dogs.