The topic of New Year’s resolutions can be quite polarizing, to say the least – people seem to either love them or hate them. Let’s face it, most of us don’t exactly experience some dramatic life-changing shift when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, so it’s more of a symbolic event than anything.

I fall in the category of people who love them, but probably not for the reason you think. In fact, I actually agree with the naysayers who argue that change can (and should) occur any time of the year. I also believe that attempting to become an entirely different person overnight can be incredibly toxic and discouraging. What I do love about the new year is how motivational and inspirational it can feel, cultivating a catalyst for change.

Life gets pretty busy sometimes. Days blend together, months quickly go by, and time can begin to pass by without much of a realization. It can almost feel like we are spinning fast on a merry-go-round, unable to slow down, let alone stop, to get off or switch directions. Pulling ourselves out of our daily routines while we’re stuck in the thick of it can feel challenging, especially when we aren’t aware of it happening.

New Year’s offers us a sense of closure from the previous year, where we can self-reflect on what has happened, where we are, and where we like to go. This creates the perfect opportunity for goal-setting as once we’ve become aware of our current reality, we can slowly begin to shift towards the life we dream of.

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The new year can be incredibly motivating, planting the seed of change, but it doesn’t come with dedication. While we may find ourselves wanting to drastically change our lives, our circumstances and environment likely will stay fairly consistent with the previous year. So to create long-lasting, sustainable changes in any area of our lives, we need to foster small, attainable resolutions. 

I’ve shared a ton of goal-setting tips in the past, so I want to focus today on sharing simple tips that are focused on New Year’s resolutions. Many of us look at our resolutions on a grander scale than typical goal setting, and these tips will help you along your journey.

Also read: How to Stick to Your Goals When Your Motivation Isn’t Enough

3 Simple Tips For Sticking With Your New Year’s Resolutions

1. Check How You’re Speaking To Yourself

This may not sound practical, but I promise you it is. Your brain is constantly listening to you. It hears the good, it hears the bad, and it hears everything in-between. If you are constantly telling yourself that you’re incapable of achieving your goals or that you’re broken and in need of fixing, your brain will look for confirmations to prove it’s true. For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to cook more, but you constantly tell yourself how much you hate cooking, that you’re a bad cook, or that you don’t have time to cook, your brain will look for signs you’re right. If it seems simple, that’s because it is. Start with how you’re speaking to yourself and how you’re speaking about your resolutions. Be kind and believe in yourself.

Also read: Why The Story We Tell Ourselves Influences Our Success

2. Visualize & Implement

If you were to plant a seed in your garden and come back to check it the next day, you would see a pile of dirt. If you came back in a week, you may see a little green stem sicking up, but not much more than that. Just as it would take time to watch the growth of your plant, the same will likely happen with your resolutions. One way to help you stay on track is to focus on visualizing what it would be like if you had already achieved your goals. For example, if your goal was to learn how to play piano, visualize what that would look like. When would you play? What would you play? Who would you play for? How often would you play? What habits would you form around playing? Once you’ve taken note of the habits, evaluate where in your life you can implement these habits. If you think you’d spend your Sunday mornings playing, can you use that time now to practice? If you aren’t able to, are you able to adjust your goal a tad?

Also read: This Simple Visualization Will Help You Take Your Life To The Next Level

3. Go Easy On Yourself

If you listen to absolutely nothing else I’m saying today, please just listen to this: ditch the all-or-nothing approach. Seriously. Unless you are told by a medical professional that you must make a life-alternating shift immediately, you can likely take your time. Slow, sustainable progress is absolutely still worthy and significant. Keep things manageable, and focus on changing areas of your life that are accessible to you now. For example, if you haven’t read in years, placing the expectation of yourself to read 50 books this year may feel completely unattainable and you may find yourself giving up quickly. Setting a smaller goal, on the other hand, such as reading a book a month or a chapter every couple of days may feel more attainable. When reading becomes more of a regular activity for you, you can adjust your goals. It’s much easier to start small and work your way up than to change everything overnight and find a way to scale back. Stick with it, believe in yourself, and go easy on yourself. You’ll eventually get where you’re headed.

New Year’s Resolutions