Turn Your Resolutions Into Good Habits

New Years is a time for making optimistic promises to yourself. Whether your goal is to lose weight, get your finances on track or fulfil some other lofty plan, almost everyone has some type of New Years resolution. Unfortunately, many of these resolutions are abandoned quickly, sometimes even before the last of the Christmas decorations have been put away for the year. To avoid this, a few simple tips can help you to actually keep your resolutions this year.

Create a Concrete Goal

Vague resolutions such as “save more money” are not likely to actually be fulfilled because you have no barometers are benchmarks set to help you to stay motivated or determine if you are on track. The more specific you are with your goals and the more clearly they are broken down into measurable outcomes, the better your chances of actually making them happen.

Take Action Steps

Once you have a goal in place, it’s time to just dive in. For many, getting started is the hardest part. Once you get the ball rolling, you have a better chance of actually following through. So, get started as soon as you can. If your goal is to fix your finances, for example, you can start by setting a budget, using a mortgage calculator at moneysupermarket.com to help you to determine if refinancing is right for you, or setting up automatic deposits to your savings account.

Get Support

Another way to make sure you fulfill your resolutions is to surround yourself with a support system and to make yourself accountable to someone. Find other people who share the same goal as you, if you can and work together on it. For instance, if both you and a friend want to lose weight, set up a time to go to the gym together.

Limit the Number of Goals You Have

When you make a list of a ton of resolutions, actually fulfilling any of them becomes more difficult because your attention is spread across too many things. Instead, choose just a few limited aspirations that are most important to you and devote yourself to fulfilling them. Make sure that the goals you choose are things that are truly important to you, rather than just those you think sound good or would please others. Intrinsic motivation is key to success.

Make Your Goals Attainable

When you set a resolution that is too far outside of what is reasonable to achieve, you are much more likely to get discouraged and give up. For instance, if you want to pay off debt, set a goal to pay off a reasonable amount in a year and set yourself benchmarks along the course of that year that can actually be achieved. Don’t choose something ridiculous like paying off your entire mortgage, unless your mortgage calculator lets you know that you can actually afford to do that given your disposable income available.

Work Through Temporary Setbacks

When something goes awry and you have a temporary setback, this is the most likely time when you would pack it in and give it up. Don’t do this. Instead, force yourself to get right back up and keep coming- even that same day or the next morning.

Guest Post from Katie

5 Responses to Turn Your Resolutions Into Good Habits

  1. Accountability is HUGE. My fiancee and I help to keep each other accountable and it works. We both are striving to have awesome bodies by our honeymoon. It’s working…progress is a huge motivator!

  2. Evan, It’s Friday afternoon, and my goal is to relax, go out for dinner, and watch TV :). Tomorrow, I’ll worry about the more important things.

  3. I don’t make resolutions anymore since I’ve always failed them. I do however make goals, I love goals. I don’t limit my goals as you suggested, I have about 20-something for 2012 and add in a couple extras for my monthly goal posts. I don’t accomplish all of them, but having more goals makes me work harder to achieve them and helps me balance things out better.

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