As the new year fast approaches, you're likely thinking of how to make the next year better. If you’re like a whopping 90% (a shocking but true statistic) of American resolution-makers, you might not do so great with yours. New Year's resolutions generally fall into a few broad categories: health goals, career goals, personal goals. We’ve got some advice, tools, and apps to guide you on how to stick to your goals in the new year.
Apps, Extensions, & Products
For so many out there, new year’s resolutions are hard to keep because it gets too hard to keep the motivation going. This could be because daily life gets in the way, or you’re too self-critical, or just plain stressed out. Something that could potentially help with this is a meditation app like Headspace, which makes meditation and mindfulness easier to achieve with guided audio sessions that walk you through it. A huge bonus if your new year’s resolution happened to be to meditate more.
Just as meditation could help with stress, which in turn could push your resolutions forward, so could CBD! We all need to put a little less pressure on ourselves, and CBD can help. The part of you that wants to give up when you miss a day at the gym, could be a little more silent with CBD. The derivative of the hemp plant is completely non-psychoactive and has been widely researched for its role in reducing stress, aches and pains, and promoting better mood and quality of sleep. CBD has also shown some promise in improving focus, which will make it easier to keep your eyes on the prize and keep your new year's resolution!
If productivity is your goal and the internet is your obstacle, productivity apps like Forest might help. You can get Forest as an extension for your browser, and make sure you stay off the most tempting websites, whatever those might be for you. What makes it special is that every time you begin a period of focus, the app plants a visual tree that grows while you work. If you manage to stay off your blacklisted websites for the specified amount of time, you’ll grow a whole tree. If not, your tree will wither and die. The sense of achievement you get from each grown tree is a reward of its own, and if it helps you keep your new year's resolution, that's even better!
Advice from the Experts
You’ve got the apps and the tools, but still can’t find that motivation? We got some incredibly knowledgeable women to share their advice on how to stick to your goals and keep your new year's resolution. Each person is different, so find a method that works for you.
Alissa Norton, a life coach at Living Color Coaching had this to say:
- Make an overall list of intentions and goals for the year. Some small, like making better salads, and some large, like taking on an educational challenge or working out 3 times a week. I recommend writing them down and posting them in a place where you will see them, and then checking them off as you accomplish them.
- Schedule a few checkpoints throughout the year (at least quarterly) to revisit your resolutions, revise them, or add new ones. That way it isn't just a one-shot deal. Self-improvement can be an ongoing part of life, not something that gets "done".
- Appreciate yourself and your efforts. Guard against being a perfectionist. Give yourself credit for progress, not just results. What you do every day, from drinking a glass of water to connecting with an important person using good eye contact and having an authentic conversation, is worthy of praise.
Mabel Yiu, MFT, a counselor at the Women’s Therapy Institute, CA takes a more holistic approach to New Year’s Resolutions, believing we should ditch the ‘New Year’ bit altogether!
“The real problem is not that we are setting a goal for ourselves. I see people achieve personal goals all the time. It is not that we can’t do it. I know that we can. It is about how you see the need to keep your New Year’s resolution versus a personal goal. Rather than tying a goal to the New Year, simply set a goal. Don’t give yourself a time frame.
Our brains seem to be attached to that phrase “New Year” and after a week or two into the month, that goal doesn’t seem to matter as much. After all, it is not the “new year” anymore so why does a resolution matter? That goal starts to dwindle and the new becomes old.
Instead, make a change. Make a change in your life for the better. Whatever it is you need. Set out to achieve the things that will help you to live your best life. Break free from old habits. Learn to love yourself a little better. Set aside time for you. But drop the phrase “New Year” resolution and instead resolve to make a positive change for you. You can make positive changes anytime throughout your life, they don’t have to start or end with a change in the calendar.”
Susan Petang of The Quiet Zone Coaching, on the other hand, takes a more rigorous approach to keep your New Year's resolution and says
“As much as it's beneficial to stay in the moment, it's also appropriate to set aside time for goal setting. Let's say your New Year's Resolutions are about a situation you'd like to change. You're thinking of changing jobs, or learning a new skill, or moving to another location.
The first step is to make sure you're willing to sacrifice what's necessary to make that change. When we give up one set of issues, the solution can come with a different set. For example, leaving one job to make more money at another might involve a longer commute. Learning a new skill to get a promotion might come with more responsibilities. Finding a bigger interior living space might also mean a smaller yard. It might sound simply like common sense, but making a detailed pro and con list is essential. Think long and hard about the benefits and drawbacks of making your change. Once you've determined that you're ready and willing to keep your new year's resolution, use the S.M.A.R.T. system of goal setting to make sure you're on the right track.
keep your new year's resolution
The S.M.A.R.T. system:
S = Specific. Your goal should be as specific as possible about what you want to achieve. What specific position do you want to find and how much do you want to earn? Any specific skill do you want to master? What size living space do you want and what neighborhood do you want to live in?
M = Measurable. A concrete way of measuring progress is necessary. How many resumes will you send and interviews do you want to have a week? How far along in a course do you want to be at a given point in time?
A = Action oriented. We can't sit back and wait for things to come to us - we have to pursue what we want. Schedule the necessary steps to achieve your goal into your calendar.
R = Reasonable. It's unreasonable to expect to go from mail clerk to CEO in a year, become fluent in a new language in a week, or find exactly the living space you want in a great neighborhood for $250 a month. Decide what trade-offs and compromises you're willing to make.
T = Time-sensitive. If there's no time limit, there's no motivation to make your goal a reality - otherwise, it's just a dream and not a goal. Resolve to find that new job in 6 months. Plan to be proficient in your new skill in 8 months. Be determined to find that new living space in 3 months. Break your goal down into smaller units and schedule them into your days. Send out a certain number of resumes or network with a certain number of contacts a week. Resolve to have basic competency in a new skill in a certain amount of time. Look at a certain number of properties every week.”
What’s most important when trying to achieve any goals – whether they’re related to the new year or not - is to go easy on yourself. Don’t be harsh if you fail, and reward yourself if you succeed. Most importantly, know that time isn’t running out for you to keep your New Year's resolution. You can try, and try and try again till you make it!