The question on everyone’s lips this time of year has changed from “Are you going to the local bar to see everyone we didn’t talk to in high school?” to “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” You’ve been through a few decades of this. Let’s make this the year that sticks.
First things first. The chances of you being successful in becoming an Olympic athlete, movie star, president, and Britney Spears in a year are slim. Choose a resolution that fits who and where you are right now. Set yourself up for success, and maybe even map out the exact steps that are necessary to get you there. If you’re just starting a new job, this might be the time to resolve to improve your work ethic. While setting distinct goals when it comes to your punctuality, output, and teamwork are doable, hoping to leap three notches in the company ladder might be overdoing it.
Please do not have an actual baby. Nobody wants to be that guy at the bar with the kid in tow, and we all know you aren’t ready to give up happy hours. By baby steps, we mean that all goals are best accomplished in bite-size portions. Want to be able to take your shirt off without doing that awkward sucking-in-your-stomach thing? Aim to eat healthy just a couple of days a week. Once that becomes routine, build it up to four, and then six days. Progress is an accomplishment in itself. If you expect too much change too quickly, you’re immediately headed for disappointment.
Don’t shut up about it.
The more people you tell, the more people will be on your back to stick to your goal. They’ll follow up with you (especially if you tell your mom), and you’ll be stoked to brag about your progress… or embarrassed to admit that you haven’t changed a single thing since 2013. Want to read more books next year? Start a book club. Dreaming of a clean house year-round? Invite friends over often, and ask around for tips to stay tidy. Trying to bring your lunch to work more often? Buddy up with coworkers in the break room. They’ll ask where you were if you sneak off to Chipotle too often.
If you’re Oprah, make a dream board.
Does anyone actually do this? The point is to have your end goal and purpose in sight. Vague dreams of going to the gym constantly don’t make your resolution tangible enough to stick. Ask yourself why it’s important to work out often. Whether it’s for lifelong health, or to feel confident in bed, knowing your purpose clarifies exactly what is at stake if you start to lose progress. And hey, if posting pictures of a shirtless Zac Efron on a poster in your closet helps, more power to you.
Always. But especially when you’re being good. An extra cheat day is worth it if it means that you’ll stick with your goal in the long run. And once your new resolution has become more of a habit than a daily challenge, get yourself a small token of appreciation for making so much progress. Remember, tip #1 was to take baby steps. After you’ve taken a notable step forward, relish in it. Grab a new outfit to highlight your newly fit figure, or go on a stay-cation. You deserve it.
The resolution options are endless. Pick one that fits for you, make it stick, and rinse and repeat next year. While sticking with something for an entire year requires dedication, accomplishing your goal in the long run feels pretty damn good. Delayed gratification is worth it. And, remember to indulge in some not-so-delayed rewards