The beginning of each year often brings a strong desire for change and a fresh start.
We set goals, make resolutions, and commit ourselves to bettering our lives. However, as enthusiasm fades, we need help sticking with these new habits and goals.
At Cornerstone, we understand the importance of mental strength when achieving our personal goals. We want to share with you some valuable tips on mentally sticking with your New Year’s resolutions.
Tip #1: Start Small
Don’t always aim for big changes immediately. It’s better to start small and make gradual changes. Set achievable and realistic goals for yourself. While it’s great to dream big, setting goals for unrealistic timelines can lead to feelings of frustration and discouragement. Instead, break your resolution down into smaller, more achievable steps.
For example, if you want to start working out, aim to do it for 15 minutes, three times a week. You don’t have to start by committing to an hour-long workout every day. Achieving small goals provides a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to keep going.
Tip #2: Plan Ahead
Plan, plan, plan. Put in writing what you want to accomplish. Create a plan outlining your daily activities and goals. You’ll start to create healthy habits that eventually become second nature. If you want to start eating healthy, plan your meals and snacks, and avoid buying unhealthy foods.
Keep a digital or physical planner to write down everything you want to accomplish during your week. A concrete timeline will help you stay motivated, procrastinate less, and feel better inclined to stick to various possibilities of resolutions. We know people have busy lives, so start by scheduling one or two hours this week to focus on only you.
Tip #3: Celebrate the Small Victories
It’s important to recognize and celebrate your successes along the way. Breaking your resolution down into manageable steps means you’ll have more opportunities to feel good about your accomplishments. Take the time to acknowledge your progress and reward yourself for a job well done.
Tracking your progress can help you recognize when you’ve reached a small victory. Use a mobile app or notebook to track your progress, and reward yourself when you reach significant milestones. For example, if your goal is to save money, track your spending and celebrate when you reach a specific savings goal.
Tip #4: Be Accountable
Share your goals with a friend or family member. Someone holding you accountable can help you stay motivated and committed to your goals. Check in with your support system regularly to keep yourself on track. Ask for help if you’re struggling.
You also need to hold yourself accountable. You’ll know when you’re starting to give up. Do your best to motivate yourself to continue. Try some of these strategies to get back on track:
1. Remember the Reason: Recalling why you made the resolution in the first place can reignite your motivation and commitment.
2. Be Realistic: Adjust your expectations if they’re too high. Now that you’ve started and know your boundaries, you can set new, achievable goals.
3. Reframe Your Resolution: Mindfulness can help you approach your resolution with a calmer, gentler mind.
4. Build on What’s Already Working: Use your existing positive habits as a foundation for new ones.
5. Make Your Habits Appealing: You’re more likely to stick to your resolution if you genuinely enjoy it.
6. Find Immediate Rewards: This could be as simple as feeling good about making a healthy choice.
7. Avoid “Avoidance” Goals: Rather than focusing on what you want to stop doing, focus on what you want to start doing.
8. Be Picky About Your Resolutions: Focus on one or two key areas rather than trying to do everything at once.
9. Integration into Your Current Lifestyle: Make gradual changes that fit your current lifestyle. Too much change at once can feel overwhelming.
It’s perfectly okay to adjust your goals as you go along. The important thing is not to give up entirely.
Tip #5: Be Kind to Yourself
Change takes time, and setbacks are a natural part of the process.
Don’t get discouraged if you slip up or miss a goal within your timeline. Instead, reflect on what you learned and use that knowledge to move forward. You are capable of making positive changes, and progress is more important than perfection.
Breaks from your daily routine are also okay. Take time to practice self-care and engage in relaxing or rejuvenating activities. Resolutions are hard. They can be a significant change from the daily routine that you’re used to. Recognize all the progress that you’ve made so far, and don’t hesitate to take a break for self-care if you need it.
At Cornerstone, we understand the transformative power of self-improvement. Our goal is to provide individuals with the tools and support they need to manage and overcome whatever is holding them back. No matter your resolution, we hope our tips can help you stay motivated.
Sometimes, it takes more work to stick to your resolutions despite your best efforts. We can help.
Our professional staff offers mental health counseling and therapy services to ensure individuals receive the support they need to achieve their goals. Request an appointment online or call (217) 222-8254 today.