Want to make sure your New Year’s resolutions actually stick this year? Rather than aiming for generic goals like “save money,” “lose weight,” or “be more organized,” list specific actions you’d like to accomplish. For example, how do you define “saving money”? How much money do you want to save? How will you cut back? Will you be setting aside an extra $20 a week, or cutting out certain luxuries? Make a concrete plan!
If you’re looking to lose weight, give yourself a goal weight and a deadline. For instance, you may want to lose 20 pounds by March. To do that, you should break that up into weekly goals. How much weight do you need to lose each week to be on track? Otherwise you may end up putting your diet plan off and then desperately trying to play catch-up as March approaches. Focus on the small steps.
Another trick is to create motivational cues. Saving up for a trip to Brazil for the World Cup this summer? Change your email password to brazil2014, or set your iPhone wallpaper to a photo of Rio. Just as a photo of some perfectly toned supermodel tacked to the fridge may prompt you to make healthier eating choices, this can help remind you of your priorities.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you get off track. A major problem that people encounter with resolutions is losing focus and then writing off the goal entirely. If you cheat on your diet, don’t just give up. You can start fresh tomorrow.