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Author Information

Meg is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. After going through high school thinking she “didn’t like to write,” she found her love for it her freshman year at college and it’s only deepened since then. Upon graduating from Rutgers University with a BA in Communication in 2013, she began working in online marketing for the hospitality industry. She currently splits her time between NYC, where she works, and NJ, where she lives—but hopes that one day she’ll be able to live & work in the same state (that’s the dream).

5 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

We are nearing the end of January which means we’re just a few days away from the end of the new year and all the opportunity that a clean slate presents to us. If you’ve chosen to make a New Year’s Resolution like so many of us do, now is around the time that you might be feeling that surge of energy to stick to the resolution you had a few weeks ago fading. We’ve got two options at this point: path one is the one of least resistance which is letting the energy continue to fade out and ditch our resolutions. Path two is more difficult but more rewarding (like everything in life, right? why must it be this way?!): take that little amount of fire that we still have, get it to some oxygen, and throw anything flammable that we own to reignite it enough to fuel the next 11 months of the year. After a decade of taking path one, I took path two last year and kept my New Year’s Resolution for the first time in my life (!!). If you are teetering on forgetting your resolution this year, take a look at the 5 things that I learned when I kept mine last year, and hopefully they’ll be those flammable objects that you need to throw on your fire to keep it burning (or something very poetic like that…).

lynn tally on flickr

Set Realistic Goals

Okay, so it’s the end of January and you’ve already set your goal for the year. But if you’re here and reading this it’s likely that the resolution isn’t working out for you and you might need to make some adjustments to keep going. Whatever you end up changing about your resolution: make the change/changes realistic. After a month of trying to keep your resolution, you have hopefully learned something about yourself or something about yourself as it relates to the goal you set. Use this knowledge to inform your changes. Maybe the goal was just too much? So make it smaller. Or maybe you realized that hey, you don’t even WANT this to be your resolution anymore—so take it in a new more realistic direction.

Forget the All or Nothing Mindset

If I had to choose only one tip from this list to share, it would be this one. It is so, so easy to be all or nothing about changes and decisions that we make but that is not conductive to making real changes in our lives. Unless you are immortal or a superhuman (if you are, I’m not sure why you’re looking to me for advice, but nice to meet you!) being a perfectionist and working for 100% flawlessness is not realistic, or even fun. Things are going to happen, life is going to get in the way of our efforts, and the best thing we can do is be adaptable in these situations. The moment that you are able to realize that completing 80% of your goal might not be as much as you were hoping to do, but it is still 80% more than you did previously, is the moment that you win. I speak from experience here and I know first hand that you gain freedom when you lose that perfectionist mindset.

Put the Work In

It’s quite easy to say we’re going to do something but following through with it is difficult, even for the least flaky among us. The most common new year’s resolution that people make is to get in better shape, and unfortunately it’s one that gets dropped really easily. Why? It’s hard! It takes effort and work and being constantly mindful of your goal—so much easier said that done. Know that if you are serious about making this change, you also have to be serious about putting in the work to do it. It might involve waking up earlier to work out, taking more time in the kitchen to cook your meals, and reducing the amount of certain foods you eat. Nothing about that is simple, but it is doable, just as long as you put the work in.

waferboard on flickr

Make a Plan

It’s fun to be spontaneous in many ways, but it’s not the way to go about making changes to your life or yourself. My resolution last year was to read a passage from a spiritual-ish book, read a passage from a religious book, and do a devotional everyday. Full disclosure? That was also my resolution the previous year but I dropped it after 16 days. What was the difference between 2013 and 2014? The first time I tried I had no plan, just told myself that I would fit the dedication in “whenever I felt like it during the day” which, now that I’m writing this, is making me laugh out loud. Of COURSE that failed! Something sometime was bound to come up or I was going to forget about it and because I had no plan, there was no way to be reminded of it. Last year I decided I was going to do the readings before bed every night and low and behold—it got done. It doesn’t need to be a long, drawn out contract with explicit instructions and 429 details, just enough of a guideline for yourself to have something to refer to so that your resolution can be on your mind.

Remember Why it’s Important

There was a reason that you made this resolution in the first place. No matter what the goal was, there was something inside of you that made it want to happen. As is often the case when we are either told to do something, or begin to equate it with “work,” we get bogged down in the day to day moments and lose focus of the bigger picture. If your resolution was to read more and it’s gotten to the point of the day when you planned (remember, you totally made a plan like we spoke about above!) on reading and you just. aren’t. feeling. it. try to pull yourself out of the current moment and look at the overall reason you wanted to read more. Because you love it? Because you wanted to further your education? Because you’re scared that you’re watching too much TV and you want to remind your brain how to do it? No matter what your reason is—try to remind yourself of why you chose it in the first place and hopefully that will give you that push you need.

Do you have any tips for keeping New Year’s Resolutions?

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One Comment on “5 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. Saura Singha January 29, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    That’s an interesting post you have there. I also feel it is very helpful, considering how so many people make resolutions but fail to keep them beyond the first week or two.

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