The New Year is upon us, which means it’s time for everyone’s least favorite thing: New Year’s Resolutions. Before you groan and sneer at the idea, we’d like to take a moment to provide some tips for crafting and keeping that perfect resolution. With these five nuggets of new year wisdom, we hope you can make (and actually keep) that resolution.

Start small

An easy way to maintain a New Year’s Resolution is to pick the right one. It’s easy to get carried away in the dewy-eyed optimism of the new year and to strive for something massive and life changing. While admirable, creating a daunting goal can lead to being overwhelmed, especially if you falter early (more on that later).

A simple solution? Start with something small! Rather than a resolution like, “I will not use my phone at any point after dinner” try “I will cut ten minutes of screen time from my daily routine.” These easier, bite sized resolutions can work to form habits, which are essential to any life change. As your habits become a daily part of your life, then you can start building upon them on a more ambitious scale.

Reward yourself

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool, especially when it comes to maintaining a New Year’s Resolution. No matter what the resolution is, find a way to reward yourself for a successful week. Whether it’s a cheat day off the diet or treating yourself to an impulse online purchase, sprinkling prizes to yourself throughout the weeks will help you maintain pace. It will also provide small boosts to your mental health, something you should always be caring for, regardless of resolution status.

Keep a journal

Yes, we know, no one has kept a journal since, like, 1996, BUT doing so in this context could be a boon to your resolution goals. Keeping a written record of your activities and habits not only allows you to reflect on all the great things you have done but can also help you spot any triggers when you falter in your resolution. Isolating those negative influences from the big picture can then allow you to avoid them, hopefully resulting in less trip ups.

Plus, journal keeping is already proven to be a cathartic, psychologically beneficial activity. Give it a try, even if you aren’t trying to complete a New Year’s Resolution!

Don’t give up after mistakes

New Year’s Resolutions often fail because people tend to give up after just one mistake. Our advice: don’t give up. Simple, right?

Obviously, this is easier said than done. Nothing is easier than giving up. BUT in this case, a simple, “I’ll get back on track tomorrow” is all you need. Far too many people take the nuclear option, torpedoing their ENTIRE resolution due to one or two small little mistakes. There’s no shame in admitting a set back and then turning things around afterwards. This will allow to keep your resolution deeper into the year making it less ‘New Year’s Resolution’ and more of an actual, tangible part of your life.

Don’t do it alone

As the great philosopher Nintendo once said, “It’s dangerous to go alone!” Working towards something with a partner or small group provides an easy support system to nourish off. The group can provide words of encouragement to each other, providing a cheerleader section that will pay dividends.

Or, if you think friendship and cooperation is boring, why not go the competitive route? Enlist a friend or group of friends to enter the arena of New Year’s Resolution combat with you, checking in to see who has made the biggest strides in achieving their goals. Nothing can inspire someone more than healthy competition!

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