There should be a day that's scheduled about a week after New Year's Day, and is devoted to reevaluating all of the resolutions that you confidently made the week before and dropping the ones that are absolutely not happening. We can name it, Resolution Revision Day. Because, if we're being real, your resolutions to meditate daily, stop grabbing single-use plastics, gossip less, lift weights three times a week, and stop using your phone before bed were cute but overzealous.
Studies have shown that about 77% of people are able to maintain resolutions after one week, but after six months, that drops to 46%. There's nothing wrong with making an ambitious resolution, but at a certain point you have to be realistic and ask yourself: Is this something I can and will want to do for the rest of the year? If you can answer that question, then you can focus your energy on the goals that you really care about.
From a psychological standpoint, there are a few strategies that will make sticking to a resolution easier, regardless of the content of the goal. The oft-cited statistic that "half of resolutions fail" is discouraging, and doesn't necessarily paint the full picture of what resolutions are like in action. The truth is, you might need some help along the way and that is okay. So, whether your New Year's intention is to try to move more or dwell less, these tips and techniques will help you stick to your resolutions.
Post about it on social media.
Sharing your goals on social media does more than just keep you accountable in a public way. Talking about your goals with friends and family can make the difficult aspects of your resolution seem more doable, plus it allows you to celebrate small victories along the way, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). If the people in your life are clued in on your resolutions, they'll be able to support you, which will make you less stressed and more resilient in your approach, according to the APA. On the other hand, you can use social media to meet and connect with new people who are pursuing a similar goal. So, while you might roll your eyes at the dozens of people posting about Whole30 on your feed, understand that they're just trying to do their best.
Let yourself take breaks.
The problem many of us face when drafting resolutions is that we aim for absolute perfection, which is just not possible, according to the APA. Inevitably, you're going to miss a day of your workout challenge, or you're going to forget to meditate. Studies about resolutions have shown that even when people "slip" within the first month of their resolution, they can still be successful in achieving their goals. To that point, just because you stopped your "streak" does not mean that all your hard work the days prior were for nothing. In fact, if you cut yourself some slack and accept that sometimes you're going to need a break from your resolution, you'll feel more jazzed to get going on it the next day.
Adjust your resolutions as you change.
There may have been something about your goal that you were really attached to in the beginning of the year, but as you try to implement it, your feelings might change. Or, you might realise that you realistically can't make time for your initial goal, so you have to scale back. (In fact, not having time is the number one reason why people experience exercise relapses, according to the American Council on Exercise.)
Instead of giving up, allow yourself to make changes or adjustments to your resolutions as the year progresses, Amy B. Scher, expert in mind-body healing and author of How To Heal Yourself When No One Else Can, told Refinery29. "Let yourself have that luxury," she said. Nobody is waiting at the proverbial finish line to check that you accomplished your goals except for you. And, since your priorities naturally change, you should, too.