The new year has arrived, and with it a new round of resolutions. With the year just begun, it feels like 2016 might just be the perfect time to conquer those love handles, strengthen that core, defeat that insomnia, or just master a few new yoga poses. But how do we keep these resolutions, as the exciting high of the new year fades? That’s where these three tips come in:
1. Challenging, not overwhelming
As with any goal, you should temper your New Year’s resolutions with a touch of reality. You want to set a thoroughly challenging goal, one you’ll have to put some effort into, without setting yourself up for inevitable defeat. It’s enough to feel slightly harried throughout the year — if you completely exhaust yourself, you’ll do worse over time than if you’d set a lower goal to begin with.
2. Find companions
Find a social group working towards the same goals you are. It’s even better if it’s a group that’s been working towards that goal for a while, since newly-formed groups running on the fresh energy of 2016 will likely lose steam quickly. By putting yourself alongside a dedicated group of peers, you’ll give yourself all the tools you need to stay on task, including help with your improvements, peer pressure to keep at it, and the stress-relief of a shared burden.
3. Milestones and measurements
Vague resolution goals tend to fade the fastest in the new year: eat healthier, spend more time in the gym, get more sleep. To make the most of your goals, you should establish a concrete way of measuring your progress or adherence to your resolution. Instead of "eat healthier", make it "lose X lbs per month by eating Y calories per day". Instead of "get to the gym more", make it "get my bench press up 10 lbs by X, then 20 lbs by Y, then 30 lbs by Z". By setting concrete standards, you can’t subconsciously wriggle out of your own expectations — and you’ll get a nice surge of morale when you do pass your milestones.
Combine these three tips, and you might just beat the odds on your resolutions. And having done it once, you can do it again and again, building upon each successful year. So, get to it!