***Updated 12/28/20

It’s that time again: we’ve been indulging in decadent food, drink, and lazy habits and we look forward to a good purging and sense of renewal. This year we are more ready than ever to leave 2020 behind us and start 2021 with a sense of hope!

Although not everyone loves setting New Year’s resolutions, approximately 45% of Americans will be setting some kind of goal over the next couple of weeks.

The most popular New Year’s resolutions deal with health, wealth and overall well being. No surprises there. However, by mid-March many of us will have lost interest or motivation for these well intended promises.

So, how do we go about sticking to those New Year’s resolutions? Turns out, there are a few tricks for this.

Set a realistic New Year’s resolution. No, REALLY realistic!

There are a number of articles and papers dedicated to why picking unrealistic goals will only set you up for failure. As this article points out, the goal setting is probably the main reason people don’t stick to their New Year’s resolutions.

We have an answer for that: JUST DON’T DO IT! Seriously, stop pretending that you are going to swap out a fast-food only lifestyle for kale and quinoa. Decide you are going to TRY to eat kale and quinoa once a week instead. Other realistic goals that make it almost impossible to fail include:

  • drink more water
  • move your body more (walking, take the stairs, park farther away, have an impromptu dance party in your kitchen)
  • eat more veggies
  • pay less attention to your phone/social media (take a 30 minute break once a week to start)

Also, let’s go ahead and build in some flexibility and compassion for what kinds of goals we can set in the midst of a pandemic. Maybe start small and build slowly.

Change your mindset on New Year’s resolutions

Rather than creating trite goals that don’t truly add value to you – ” I need to lose 10 pounds to fit in my old jeans,” create goals that focus on an intrinsic value you would be adding to your life – ” I want to be more active so that I have higher energy levels when I play with my kids.” Once you’ve set a realistic resolution based on enhancing your life, you are far more likely to move toward it consistently.

Get a plan for accountability

It is tough to cheat and quit when you’ve got a whole team or support system in place. Set that goal and then get a plan of action. Possible plans that are so easy you almost can’t lose?

  • Start a group on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and report in to each other with accomplishments and encouragement
  • journal your progress
  • Find 1 person with the same goal and set time aside to meet (phone, email or text even) weekly with an update on progress

Another great tip? Look into using WOOP, an approach designed by psychologist Gabriele Oettingen to help people reach even their wildest dreams.

These 3 tricks for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions are easy and almost so simple it’s silly. But that’s the point.

Looking forward to a new year should be full of hope and renewal and excitement and at the end of that year you want to reflect back with pride on how far you’ve come. So, make it fun and keep the negativity out of it! Good luck and Happy New Year’s!

PS – Here are some coupons to help with some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions too: