The moving girl in me loves New Year’s resolutions. It’s that feeling of a fresh start without having to pack a box or find an apartment. If you’re moving over the holidays (like we did one year), you’re lucky. You get double the motivation. Whether you are making a New Year’s resolutions list or a moving one, here are some ways to help you crush that list.
Choose a specific goal
“Exercise more” or “Eat healthier” are two common items that show up on a New Year’s resolutions list. While those are laudable goals, you’re bound to fail. (Yeah, sorry.) You need to choose a specific goal. What does it mean to exercise more? How can you measure your achievement? Instead of saying “exercise more”, tell yourself that you will exercise three times a week by going to Zumba on Wednesday nights, biking with friends on Saturday afternoon, and running on Sunday mornings. Instead of saying “eat healthier”, your goal could be to eat vegetables with every meal or to limit your coffee intake to one cup in the morning.
Write down your New Year’s resolutions list
Once you’ve figured out what you want to change after your move or in the New Year, write it down. This simple act of putting pen to paper will help you succeed. When you write down your New Year’s resolutions list, your desires go from a passing thought to a promise to yourself. Mark that spin class on your calendar and set up alerts to remind you.
Make the activity part of your routine
Every year I tell myself that I’m going to do fifty sit-ups a day. It lasts for a little while, but eventually I quit. My other resolutions, however, seem to last. Why do I always fail with this particular goal? After reading The Power of Habit, I realized I needed to create a new habit. By making an activity a habit, our bodies go into auto pilot and we don’t need to waste brain power on deciding whether or not to do something.
To make the new activity into a habit, tie it to a routine that you already have. My habit? I roll out of bed and brush my teeth. Now I roll out of bed onto the floor into a 60-second plank before I brush my teeth. Sixty seconds. That’s it. No more, no less. Maybe you want to meditate more this year or learn another language. Find a way to tie that into a habit you already have like brushing your teeth or commuting to work.
Start small and set achievable goals
Let’s say you’ve asked for trendy workout clothes for the holidays and your New Year’s Resolutions list includes “run three miles a day”. Three miles is a big commitment if you’re just starting out. To increase your chances of success, you want to get into the habit of putting on your cute outfit and running shoes and walking for five minutes. You want to get to the point where you’re not thinking about whether to go for a run as your body will do it automatically. If you push too hard in the beginning, you may not do it at all. Start small. You can always add on more later.
Ask friends to help you with your New Year’s resolutions list
Everything is better when we get help from friends and family. It’s more fun to bond over rock climbing or getting a better night’s sleep if you’re doing it together, and sharing your goals will help you succeed. Being accountable to someone else will improve your chances of sticking to your resolutions.
Try to make it to March 7th
According to the research, it takes sixty-six days to form a habit. That means you just need to make it to March 7th. Don’t think of it as a resolution for the entire year. Think of it as a sixty-six day resolution. You can totally do that.
Remind yourself that one slip-up doesn’t mean you’ve failed
No one is perfect. There will be days when you can’t bring yourself to lace up your running shoes or you really need that extra cup of coffee. That’s okay. Remember that sixty-six number? Those same researchers found that it doesn’t mean you start back at zero again if you make a mistake. You’ll just push your date back to March 8.
Celebrate each victory
Did you make it through a successful first week of accomplishing your New Year’s Resolutions list? That’s awesome! Treat yourself to something, but make sure it doesn’t counteract your accomplishments. So, if you’re trying to eat healthier, treat yourself to a night at a comedy club instead of a tub of ice cream. Write down your list of rewards, things that make you happy, so you have something to look forward to as you accomplish your goals.
I’ve bought my planner and I’m ready to make my New Year’s Resolutions list. What’s on yours this year? If you’d like a free moving resolutions list or a sample one to get the ideas flowing, you can always check out my free resources page.