Common New Year’s Resolutions and How to Stick to the Them
Here at AZTEC Financial, we’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions lately, as we expect many others are doing so this time of year as well. But, believe it or not, this can be a bit of a controversial topic. Some people are against them because they believe if someone wants to make a positive change in their life, why wait until January 1st? What about it being a new year will make you change your behavior? After all, January 1st is just another day, and this year it falls on a Saturday, not exactly the most popular day of the week to implement significant changes.
Although those are valid arguments, when you reflect on your year and think about how much has changed, it's easy to see why goal setting at the start of the year can be so powerful, and some people thrive under this mindset. I think we can all agree that committing to bettering oneself is a noble cause, and the beginning of a new year is an excellent opportunity to get a fresh start.
Here are 10 of the most popular New Year's Resolutions:
- Lose weight
- Start a new hobby
- Read more
- Get outside more
- Eat healthier
- Save money
- Make a career change
- Drink less alcohol
- Travel more
- Spend less time watching TV and/or on social media
So how do you determine which resolutions to choose for yourself? If you want your New Year's Resolutions to stick, a great place to start is by reflecting on your past year. Think about what went well, what you enjoyed, and what you want to work on in the year ahead.
Also, consider what's truly important to you and why you want to implement the changes you do. For example, maybe you started walking this year, loved getting outside and having more time with your thoughts, and felt great after. But because you weren't consistent with it, you had a hard time getting yourself out the door and didn't do it as often as you would have liked. Setting a goal to walk 5x/week might be more attainable for you.
On the other hand, you should also look at what didn't go so well. Maybe you were trying to get into yoga but found yourself dreading every class. In that case, don't force yourself to keep doing yoga when there are so many other ways to move your body.
How to Reach Your Goals
Now that you know how to choose your resolutions, here are some tangible ways to make sure you reach your goals. Strategy is key to success, and part of that strategy should include preparing for obstacles and setbacks because they are inevitable.
Don't set too many goals at once.
Start small and work your way up. If you accomplish one goal or feel consistent with one of your resolutions a few months in, you can consider introducing a new one. It's good practice to review your resolutions and make changes as you go.
Break your goals into bitesize pieces.
If you have a goal to read 25 books by the end of the year, plan to read 30 minutes every day. Or, if you want to save money, putting aside $25 per week will get you $1,300 by the end of the year, and $50 per week will get you $2,600.
Recognize that change is gradual, so you shouldn't expect instant results. This mistake is one of the main reasons people abandon their resolutions. Change takes effort, and most of the goals people set will only happen after genuinely committing to long-term change.
Share your resolutions and goals with others!
Accountability is critical to sustaining long-term success. There are many ways to hold yourself accountable, such as sharing goals on social media, joining a Facebook wellness group, challenging yourself to read more on Goodreads, or simply finding an accountability buddy and checking in with them daily.
Create SMART goals.
For best results, your goals should be:
- Specific – Get clear and specific. What do you want to accomplish and why?
Example: If your resolution is to get stronger and build muscle, set a specific goal to do 20 push-ups and 20 sit-ups every day.
- Measurable – Be sure you can measure the progress of your goal.
Examples: Download a fitness app and track your weight and inches or take weekly photos of yourself. Or write down all the mountains you want to hike this year and check them off as you go.
- Attainable – Your goals must be realistic and achievable.
Example: Saying you will lose 10 pounds a month is not achievable for most. Instead, focus on things you can control, such as what you'll be eating and how much.
- Relevant – Make sure your goals are things you want for the right reasons. Is it worthwhile, or is it just something you feel like you should do? Consider your why and what you hope will result from that change.
Example: Giving up gluten because you heard it was bad for you isn't relevant to improving your health (if you don't have a gluten allergy). Instead, you could focus on eating a well-balanced diet that makes sense for your body.
- Timebound – Set a target date for your goals. Can you give yourself a two-month or six-month deadline to reach these goals? Do you need to break it down into shorter deadlines to achieve the larger goal?
Example: If you want to start running, consider signing up for a 10K three months out. In the meantime, start running 1 mile a day, then 2, then 3, and so on, working your way up until you reach your ultimate goal.
Go easy on yourself.
Remember; progress – not perfection – is the goal. Consistency is the key to lasting change, but there are bound to be hiccups because nobody is perfect. You can always get up and try again the next day. And don't stress about starting on January 1st, either. This is about improving your life, right? Whether you start on January 1st or February 1st, it's never too late to start. It is a journey, and you will learn new things about yourself as you go and adjust accordingly.
Good luck and have fun reaching your goals in 2022, and beyond!