I recently came across a definition for New Year’s Resolutions: noun; a to-do list for the first week of January. It made me laugh, but I also realize that it’s often true. We all start the new year with the best of intentions: eat healthy, lose weight, get organized, save money, and the list goes on. We want to start the year off on the right foot and feel confident about making this the best year ever. But according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and only as many as 46% of those resolutions are maintained more than six months. Sticking to New Year’s resolutions isn’t easy – 24% of respondents in the study reported that they never succeed on their resolution and fail each year. As January comes to a close, now is the perfect time to recommit ourselves to our resolutions, making sure that they are realistic and manageable. Here are the professional organizer in NYC’s top 5 tactics to keeping our resolutions throughout the year:
1. Write your resolutions down and put your list somewhere you will see it daily. That could be your computer monitor, your car dashboard, even the bathroom mirror. Make your resolutions hard to ignore.
2. Make your resolutions specific and measurable. Rather than resolving to “live healthier,” try starting with a specific step to living healthier, such as getting more sleep. That can even be broken down into more specifics, such as going to bed at 10:00pm on weeknights so that you get eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re familiar with SMART goals, this probably sounds familiar (link to recent SMART goals article)
3. Create your dream team. We all need support to reach our goals, and the same goes for New Year’s resolutions. Enlist a family member, friend, or co-worker to support you in your efforts, to keep you accountable, and to celebrate with you when you succeed. You may need to identify different support team members for different resolutions. Find somebody who will be in your corner and who can give you tough love if you need it.
4. Focus on one resolution at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are trying to change every aspect of your life at once. This is why we often give up before January is over! Prioritize your resolutions and work through them individually, one at a time.
5. Be okay with slipping up. It’s bound to happen. Nobody is perfect! Changing behaviors is often difficult work and establishing new routines takes time. Most resolutions are not overnight changes. If you start to revert to old habits, use it as a learning experience and restart with a new focus.
As the first month of the year draws to a close, now is the time to re-evaluate your resolutions and put a plan in place. It’s never too late to make lasting changes, and you don’t have to start only at the beginning of the new year. The Journal of Clinical Psychology study also found that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. Now is the time to take this professional organizer’s advice and set some resolutions to make this the best year yet!
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