If you’re anything like most people who make New Year’s resolutions, you’re probably struggling to keep them after the hype of the new year starts to wear off. Every year, despite the self-motivation that manifests itself in phrases like “this time, I’m going to make it happen!” or “it is now or never!”. And yet, within just a few weeks (or even just a few days!) you find yourself gradually slipping back into the same habits that you were hoping to finally to eliminate from your daily life. Sound familiar?

The main problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we do not give ourselves the means to achieve them realistically. We aim for a goal (often a difficult one) without considering the path to take or thinking of a realistic way to achieve it. So, after just a few days, our motivation drops and we think to ourselves: why even bother?

We must take into account the power of habit. It’s not enough to decide to make a change in our life. We must also have a strong and unwavering will to achieve it, despite the challenges we will inevitably face. We must decide to stay committed, even when our motivation to do so dwindles away.

“Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.”

– Darren Hardy, Publisher of SUCCESS

With that in mind, there are some ways to make it stack the odds of success in your favor, and finally turn your New Year’s resolutions into reality.

Here are 10 simple strategies to help you achieve your goals this year:

1. Choose realistic resolutions

By choosing New Year’s resolutions that are not realistic, you’re simply setting yourself up for failure. Your chances of achieving your goals are much better if they are realistic. Of course, it is always fun and inspiring to dream, but try to divide your ultimate goal into realistic, more manageable goals that could take you to where you want to be.

2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

When choosing your resolutions, do not try to take on too much or change too many different things at once. You will burn yourself out and will not reach any of your goals, leaving you feeling disappointed and defeated. Instead, focus on a few key goals and the steps you need to take to reach them.

3. Write your plan to achieve your goals

The best way to make real changes in your life is to make an action plan by evaluating the short, medium and long-term. Writing your resolution and the steps you will take can be very motivating. It will help you make your goals specific, not vague, and will push you to reflect on the attainability of your resolution.

4. Set small achievable goals

If you have a really ambitious New Year’s resolution, like running a marathon, make sure you have realistic and smaller goals with measurable results on the way. They will help you track your progress and keep you from getting bored or discouraged. An additional benefit to having smaller and more achievable goals is that even if you do not reach your ultimate goal, you will still have made other achievements along the way.

5. Talk about your goals

Your goals will feel more real if you talk about them, rather than keeping them to yourself. Tell your friends and family about your goals and how important they are to you. That will give you a sense of accountability that can push you and help you along the way.

6. Keep a journal

Tracking your progress in a journal is a great way to stay motivated. Even if no one sees it, it can help you be responsible. It’s also a good place to record your goals. When you hit hard times, you can go back and be inspired by the progress you have made. Revisiting your positive steps will make it harder to get back to your old habits.

7. Use a calendar and organize yourself

Look at your weekly calendar and find out when you are most likely to work on your goals. Take everything you need to reach your resolutions so that you cannot find easy excuses.

8. Give yourself a break

You will experience setbacks on the road to reach your resolutions. Do not let one or two relapses make you give up. Don’t feel guilty when you slip. Start again tomorrow! Think of relapses as opportunities for growth and do not give in for not being perfect. Try to stay positive and get back on track.

9. Reward yourself for making progress

Whenever you reach a milestone towards one of your goals, reward yourself for making progress. The reward doesn’t have to be big (it can be as simple as going out for dinner). Celebrating progress towards your goals helps you enjoy the journey until you eventually achieve it.

10. Find support

Talk to your loved ones and ask for their support. Sticking to your resolutions is much easier when you have support. The social aspect will also prevent you from getting bored and giving up.

Set yourself up for success this year

Often, we have such great expectations of ourselves that we end up disappointed when we do not achieve what we set out to achieve, and we simply give up. You must not forget that you can not change things in a few days. It takes willpower and perseverance, and you must above all have confidence in yourself and in your abilities.

Most importantly, do not forget that the first day of the year to come is not necessarily the first of January… It can also be the 15th, the 20th, or mid-August! In fact, your resolution begins the day you are really ready to start!

If you are looking for motivation and help, I would recommend enrolling in Thinkific’s free One Goal Challenge. Pick one goal and four weekly milestones, solidifying your commitment to yourself. Each week, you will receive one email to help you stay on track and to see how you are progressing. It is simple – but if you do it – highly effective!

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