2017 is here and most people have either stuck to their resolutions or failed miserably. Resolutions have a high potential to fail and that can make the end of the year a huge letdown instead of a celebration. But you don’t have to stress over your past resolutions, you just have to make your new resolutions work.

Losing weight, spending less money on unimportant things, getting organised and living life to the fullest are some of the most common resolutions people make on New Year’s Eve. Although admirable, only 8% of people are successful in following or achieving their resolutions.

We’re already halfway through January, so if your resolutions haven’t been sticking yet, it’s not too late to keep trying. Below are some suggestions that you can follow to make your 2017 resolutions are achievable:

Ask the right “whys” and understand your reasons

According to Michelle Segar, PhD, “whys” are the reasons for making your resolutions in the first place. It is the foundation of the entire behaviour change process and has a domino effect. Motivation is the fuel for doing anything and the quality of the motivation affects whether the resolution sticks or will just be forgotten. She also added that research shows that our primary reason for initiating a change determines whether we experience high or low-quality motivation. Anyone who sticks to their resolutions are resolved to change their behaviour because they truly want to improve aspects in their daily life in a solid way that will energise them and not demoralise them.

Focus on one resolution

One of the first mistakes people make is listing too many resolutions. The less BS your brain has to deal with, the better. Plus you’ll be able to focus all your motivation on one resolution at a time, thus increasing the chances of success.

Intention, not a resolution

Many people believe that resolutions are frustrating because they are an all or nothing approach to accomplishing a goal. Making these positive changes is not about the end result but about the process. Prioritise intentions instead of resolutions. Intentions are about the present moment and not the unknowable future. You can stay focused on how you can tackle the issues of reaching your goal instead of passing or failing results.

Set small goals at the beginning

Place small, incremental and achievable goals within a large goal. Say, you’re trying to start a regular exercise program, do not impose a 5-day regimen at the gym every week. Instead, make it a long-term goal like going to the gym twice or three times a week for at least 6 months. Or you can probably go for a walk 30 minutes every few days in a week. Make one change at a time.

Willpower

Willpower is a steady and steely resolve that made many people successful in reaching their goals. According to Dr Marvin D. Seppala, M.D., willpower is more like a muscle, which means the more you use it, the more it gets stronger. Also, research has found that people give-up on their goals whenever they experience setbacks or failures. However, if you approach these setbacks and any negative emotions with the right mindset and willpower, you will be more likely to fight back.

Have someone hold you accountable

Having someone to be an accountability buddy is an old yet effective way to stick to your resolutions. Inform your family and friends about your targets or goals. They will be honest with you and keep you on the right track to success.

Commit to helping other people

Changing for the better is not always about yourself. One of the best ways to make a wonderful change is usually doing good things for others. You can make a commitment to a person instead of having a goal for yourself. Help a friend or family member who is struggling or you can volunteer at a nearby soup kitchen or community centre.

Be honest with yourself

This is very important because setting any unrealistic goals and failing, in the end, is worse for motivation than never setting the goal in the first place. There is a difference between wanting to do something and being motivated to follow through. Think about why you had difficulty setting goals in the past and why you did not set any upcoming goal earlier in the year. Being aware of your personal vulnerabilities can help you work through a waning motivation and keep you on track.

Gift yourself for every goal reached

One study found that people who had a financial incentive at the end of every goal reached were more likely to complete that goal as compared to those without incentive. It doesn’t have to be financial. Apply this to any resolution you have. Once you reach your goal, gift yourself with something new or an experience you won’t forget.

Keep a record of your progress

Tracking your progress is one of the easiest and effective ways to make your resolutions stick. According to the University of Washington, the more you monitor your performance, the more likely you are to reach your goals. Why? Because you will have real-time frequent feedback that will surely encourage you to do better.

Now, get up off your couch and start achieving those resolutions!

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.