The unfortunate reality of New Year’s resolutions is that a large number of students will not stick to them. They fail because they run out of willpower or the resolutions are simply unrealistic.
There is still room for optimism, even in February. Let students assume they have sworn off those unrealistic but well-intended promises and swapped them for realistic ones. Below are 10 strategies in making New Year’s resolutions that stick:
1. SEEK GOD FIRST
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Whatever you set out to do, God will see you through. He will help you if you let Him. Take the time to talk to Him and remember Him in your goals. He will give you the strength, motivation and guidance to achieve your resolutions.
2. SET A SINGLE CLEAR GOAL
Instead of resolving to “lose weight,” set a distinctive goal. Plan to exercise twice a week and take the stairs instead of the elevator. When we set specific goals, we are more likely to stick to them.
3. AVOID REPEATING PAST FAILURES
When making resolutions, it is important to steer away from resolutions that did not work in the past. Once you have failed at something, your confidence is going to be initially low.
If you choose to strive toward the same past goals, take some time to evaluate past results and see which strategies were most effective. Figure out what obstructed you from keeping your resolution in the past and change your approach.
4. GET A PARTNER
Convince a friend or family member to join, either by trying to reach the same goal with you or by giving support and motivation. This person can keep you accountable, and friendly peer pressure can motivate you to keep working toward your resolution.
5. TAKE BABY STEPS
Do not decide on Jan. 1 to make a drastic change. Instead, set small goals to reach each month that lead you to your ultimate goal. If you resolve to read the Bible more often, start by reading just a few verses a day. Then, work your way to a chapter a day. When you make small steps, it keeps you from feeling overwhelmed by a large goal.
6. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Keep track of every triumph you make toward your resolution with a resolution journal. Small achievements keep you motivated and help you avoid impulsive moments.
7. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR INEVITABLE SETBACKS
People often give up as soon as they take a step back. Instead of mistaking a simple slip-up as total failure, think of it as a minor bump in the road to success.
8. REWARD YOURSELF
Don’t deny yourself. Instead, reward yourself when you meet a goal. Small rewards encourage you to keep going during difficult challenges.
9. RENEW YOUR MOTIVATION
During the first day, your confidence and motivation will be at its highest level. However, after a week, you may face your first temptation or struggle. This is when you should remind yourself why you are doing this and what you will gain from reaching the goal.
10. STICK TO IT
Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit, and six months for it to become a part of your personality. Do not give up. Your goals will be reached in due time.
Stick to these tips and you too will be successful in keeping your New Year’s resolutions.