How to keep up New Year’s resolutions

Adbel Espinoza

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It’s a brand new year and the end of January is a time when resolutions are weeded out and die off. To keep the spirit of bettering yourself alive, here are some simple ideas that will help you follow through with almost any resolution.

Often enough, an early mistake in planning resolutions is taking on too many at a time. Focus on a single resolution. With less on your mind, it will be easier to focus all of your motivation on one goal thus increasing the chance of success.

The buddy system has been proven effective in helping complete a goal, whether long or short-term. Losing weight or quitting a bad habit is easier with another person’s honesty to hold you accountable and on the right track.

Setting general goals can hinder progress by allowing you to slack off or expect less. Losing weight is a prime example. How much weight? By when? How? Thinking more along the lines of “I will lose 20 pounds by April,” or “I will learn to swim before summer” is best for keeping an attainable goal and propelling your enthusiasm and motivation.

“Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on Jan. 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” said psychologist Lynn Bufka in a study for the American Psychological Association. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”

Tying together daily routines with smaller goals is a way to motivate yourself from a different angle. If you want to eat healthier each morning then set your keys next to the oatmeal. Or push yourself to floss every day by storing the floss in the shower.

Phone alarms and sticky notes are small but effective ways to remind yourself of your goals. These constant reminders will keep you focused on your goal no matter the size.

Rushing or diving into a new routine is risky at best. Gym memberships, buying a new instrument or committing to a new class or group can prove to be costly and draining. Give yourself some breathing room: take trial runs for services or memberships, borrow a friend’s guitar or volunteer/intern instead of fully committing to a group. Having stumble room will ensure success.

Keep close measurements of your progress. Even if a simple, daily goal such as keeping a calendar or checklist to track your success reinforces the idea of continuing.

Your smartphone or mobile device probably has a vast array of tools to help you reach your goals. Scales and calorie counters for monitoring weight loss in addition to stopwatches and GPS devices for measuring distance or speed will help you track your progress no matter the task.