Lose weight. Lift weights. Stop drinking soda. Start making more money.
The end of the year is an exciting but conflicting time. For many, this is the time to make a New Year’s resolution and hopefully reinvent yourself for the better. In fact, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, over 40% of Americans make a habit of creating a New Year’s resolution each year.
At the same time, almost 60% of people in their twenties don’t stick to their New Year’s resolutions.
So, how can you stay committed to your resolution? We asked seven bloggers for their best tips on how to stick to your New Year’s Resolution. Read on to see what they have to say.
Commit to a short-term resolution
A New Year’s resolution can seem overwhelming. That’s why Joseph Hogue from Peer Finance 101 recommends setting a short-term goal. “It’s a lot easier to make it a couple of months than to aim for an undefined period.”
“I’ve done a few challenges, like a no spend weekend that turned into a no spend week. I’ve also done a no spend [challenge] on clothing for the entire month of March 2017. And to this day, I haven’t bought any new clothes.”
Set SMART goals
You may have heard of SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Yet, somehow we still forget to make New Year’s resolutions that stick to these guidelines.
“If you haven’t been to the gym in 412 consecutive months, you’re probably putting a lot of undue pressure on yourself to say you’re going to go every single day,” says Mindy Jensen, Community Manager at Bigger Pockets.
Instead, Jensen recommends baby steps and then working your way up. “If you eat lunch out every day, and want to save money, start by bringing lunch once a week, then bump that up to twice a week.”
Find an accountability buddy—no, really!
It’s easy to fall off the rails with your new resolution if you’re the only one who cares. But if you have an accountability buddy, you’re more likely to stick with it since someone else’s success is hinging on yours as well.
Amy Rutherford from Go With Less spends much of her time in early retirement traveling around the globe while housesitting for folks in distant places. Because she’s always on the go, it’s sometimes difficult to rely on a local accountability buddy. But, she’s got a trick up her sleeve that anyone can use.
“When I need an extra boost, I set up a monthly Facebook challenge. There are usually 20-30 participants who opt in to the private groups. I always do better on the months I initiate a group!”
This year, she’s launching a new Facebook group each month where people can join, state their own goals, and receive support from other members.
Schedule your goal into your daily routine
If your goal is officially on your schedule, it becomes a priority and you’re more likely to get it done, according to Amy Savage Blacklock from Life Zemplified.
Blacklock inks in time for a new healthy habit – like walking during her lunch hour – into her daily schedule to stay successful. “I block off 30 minutes every day in my calendar at work so that I can walk during my lunch hour. This prevents others from scheduling meetings during my time and I stick to my walking goal.”
Another related trick that can work wonders is habit stacking. For example, let’s say you want to start incorporating skin care products into your daily routine so that you don’t look like the Cryptkeeper by the time you turn 40. Setting a regular, consistent, and easy time of day to do this—such as right before bed when you brush your teeth—can make the habit stick better.
Affirmations are more than just crunchy hocus pocus. This is basically an opportunity to say, write, or think positive things about yourself and your goals. To boot, positive affirmations can actually help you stay on track with your resolutions.
“I have changed so many false beliefs, especially when it comes to self-worth and my abilities. Every morning one of my affirmations includes a positive sentence about how I am valuable,” says Nicole Chammas Rule from the blog Greatest Worth.
“From there my mindset begins to shift and I can feel my confidence rising.”
Rule says it’s important to continue practicing affirmations daily as this is the best way to feel the lasting effects.
Track your progress
One of the most effective ways to stick to your New Year’s resolution is to find a fun way to monitor your goal. You can use apps like Beeminder or HealthyWage to track your progress and give you a financial incentive to complete your goal.
If you prefer a more visual and tangible representation, you can even try an old-fashioned spreadsheet, says Jenny Se from Good Life Better.
“I use a simple spreadsheet that I hang someplace where I can see it. At the end of the day, I give myself fun stickers for each success. These may seem childish, but I don’t think you’re ever too old for gold stars!”
Your New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to end up in the dumpster
Sticking to a New Year’s resolution is hard. But, by following these expert tips and staying committed to your goal, you can start a new healthy habit today. With a bit of perseverance, it may become a long-term habit.