Gender & Identity, Life

If you do these 11 things, you’ll totally keep your New Year’s resolutions

No more giving up on your resolutions after the first week!

The best thing about the start of a year is the magic of new beginnings. It commences with a lot of promises, and we are always motivated to do something new or do the usual things in a better way. However, as days go by, we often end up losing our grip over our resolutions, which causes some to give up making resolutions altogether. It doesn’t help that today is National Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day, either. But keeping up with the plans we make during the start of the year and ultimately achieving the goals in the end is not a hard task, and here’s how you can stick to your New Year’s resolutions.

1. Make the right resolutions
[Image description: A notebook is placed on a table next to a pen, a potted plant and a pair of spectacles. The page displays the start of a new year resolutions list.] Via Herzing University
It’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but resolutions have to be achievable. It’s also important to make your resolutions specific. The phrasing does matter, even if you never pen down your goals. Don’t just say, “I want to lose weight.” Have a specific amount you want to lose in your mind. And make sure you actually want to do your resolutions, because ultimately that’s what matters.

2. Plan out your cheat days
[Image Description: The picture shows a person’s hands holding a half-eaten cheeseburger over a white plate with some ketchup.] Via Metro UK
Taking some days off is necessary for a healthy resolution, but it’s also important to stay within a limit. The whole progress of a week’s diet would be nullified if you decide to splurge on junk food on your cheat day.

Even if you don’t plan out your regular days, you need to have an idea of how you’re going to spend your cheat days.

3. Reward yourself
[Image Description: A girl with black hair is holding blue ice cream in a cone. Her eyes are closed and she is smiling.] Via Andrew Bryant Self Leadership
Nothing motivates us more than little rewards, and treating ourselves does magic on our progress. This is something I always do when I am studying, and the rewards are almost always my favorite or guilty pleasure foods. Nothing can beat a mouthwatering slice of chocolate cake after an exhausting day of studying.

Rewards make the whole process more bearable.

4. Track your habits every day for a month
[Image Description: A page from a bullet journal depicting a July habit tracker. There are some stationery items placed next to it.] Via Tea and Twigs
This is something my mother drilled into my mind as a child – it just takes 21 days to form a habit. Maybe we can stretch it and give ourselves a whole of 30 days, but if your resolution is about developing a habit, or giving up one, you need to only worry about it for a month.

If you manage to do something every day for a month, then automatically it will become a habit.

5. If you want to give up something, try an alternative
[Image Description: A close up of slices of a vegetable-topped, healthy pizza.] Via Good House Keeping
Giving up a bad habit or an addiction is not easy. It’s a step by step process, and to help us along the gradual progress, it’s always great to have an alternative. If you’re trying to control your coffee intake, then opt for non-caffeine substitutes. Without giving up chocolate altogether, shift to dark chocolate, which is much healthier.

Once you pick a perfect alternative, you’re already one step closer to progress.

6. Have fun
[Image Description: A few girls are doing a Zumba move. They are smiling and enjoying their routine.] Via Hot Friday Talks
Everything is easy when you have fun doing it. Your resolutions don’t have to be a burden or tiring, instead, they can be exciting and fun. In 2014, I made this plan to workout, but even seeing the gym would make me cry, so my friends made me try Zumba.

It was amazing. I ended up with the same result while having loads of fun in the process.

7. Keep a bullet journal
[Image Description: A snapshot of a bullet journal spread.] Via Unsplash
My life completely changed since I started maintaining a bullet journal, and that’s not an exaggeration. It’s such a huge help in keeping track of things, especially if you’re as scatterbrained as me. The internet will show you some extremely fancy layouts, but your journal can be as basic and simple as you want.

8. Download apps
[Image Description: A close up of a person’s fitness tracking app. It displays her day’s fitness goals.] Via Ketto
There’s literally an app for everything. Download apps like Forest to keep away from social media, Duolingo to learn a new language, Goodbudget to maintain your finances, Habit bull to break and form habits, Nutrino to eat healthily, ATracker to manage your time and Quip to be more organized.

9. Have a partner
[Image Description: Two friends are making travel plans over a map, laptop, cameras, and coffee.] Via Pexels
Have a partner to do your resolutions with, and if you can’t find a friend, there’s always a community online with whom you can get acquainted. You don’t even have to find a person with the same resolution, as long as two people have some resolution and can be accountable to each other, things will be much easier with the company.

10. Have a flexible schedule
[Image Description: The picture shows a laptop, phone and a journal with a monthly schedule on a table.] Via Unsplash
This is the thing with having a carefully planned and exact schedule.

You do everything perfectly for a week, or even a month, then everything goes downhill. Apart from the continuity issues, there’s also this anxiety when one day goes wrong, it creates a domino effect and affects the rest of your schedule. So take it easy, it’s less anxiety that way.

11. Stop being hard on yourself
[Image Descriptions: An image of someone holding a cup of coffee next to a blank notebook and pen.] Via
Your harshest critic is yourself. It’s natural to have setbacks, days where you are not up to your mark, you might hit a slump in between – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Change up a few things, see where and how you went wrong and work on it, and if you feel like it’s not for you, give it up and move on to a new venture.

Ultimately, you need to believe that you can achieve your goals, actually want to do it and commit to working diligently towards it. But it’s also important to remember that a resolution isn’t everything, and if you fail at it, you can always start again.

After all, you have a whole year ahead of you.

  • Mishma Nixon

    Mishma is originally from Sri Lanka, and is currently an undergraduate student at The University of Iowa. Majoring in English and Creative Writing with minors in Cinema and Social Justice, she hopes to create diverse and inclusive children's stories that she has always wanted to see. She is a textbook Hufflepuff who's obsessed with antiheroes/villains, Brooklyn 99, tea and 80's teen movies.